Sugar…it can be such a complicated relationship. It’s so good and oh, is it ever so hard to say no to.
If you’re struggling with cravings, feel hopelessly in love with it at times, or even feel shameful or guilty about your relationship with it you’ll be glad to know that it’s NOT just a willpower issue.
There are MANY physiological reasons why it’s so hard to strike a balance with sugar.
Sugar is such a big topic and today we’ll begin by covering some of the most important underlying causes of sugar cravings. This is THE best place to start in terms of redefining your relationship with it.
Sugar is at the root of our biggest health issues of today.
These days I’m thinking more and more about sugar as our modern day cigarette. The research is clear on the link between sugar and the biggest health issues of our time, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
But for some reason it’s still being marketed freely, just like cigarettes were in the 50’s – no taxes, no laws, no restrictions, little public awareness of the risks, and powerful lobby groups in the food industry working to keep it that way.
It also wreaks havoc with your hormones.
Sugar has a HUGE impact on your blood sugar hormone, insulin, which can throw off the rest of your hormones if it’s levels are out of balance. Blood sugar imbalances are linked to issues like acne, weight gain, irregular periods, infertility, mood swings and adrenal fatigue, among many others.
The first step to getting off of the sugar train is to uncover WHY you crave it so much.
Behind the Scenes of Your Sugar Cravings:
Top 6 Reasons Why You Crave it
- Stress & Adrenal fatigue – if you’ve been under a lot of stress for a long period of time, your body may not be able to keep up with the day-to-day energy demands. When this happens, your body may turn to sugar as an energy crutch, alongside caffeine and other stimulants to help you keep up.
- Insulin resistance – if your body isn’t responding to the blood sugar balancing hormone, insulin, it means sugar isn’t moving out of your blood and into cells very well to be used as energy. This can leave your cells somewhat sugar-starved, and your body will crave MORE sugar to try and make up for it.
- Your diet – when, and what, you eat for your meals and snacks can in itself create sugar cravings. The combination of protein, carbs, healthy fats, and veggies in your meals and snacks can throw things off balance, even if you’re eating “healthy” food! The key is making sure the overall composition of each meal and snack fits what your body’s unique needs are.
- Endorphins – you may be eating sugar simply to get that feel-good rush that a release of endorphins gives you. If so, you’ll want to explore other ways to get this fix like exercise and laughing. Even thinking about laughing gets your levels up! Endorphin levels also drop right before your period, so resolving the underlying hormone imbalances that cause PMS can also heal your cravings.
- Dopamine – there is a lot of interesting research coming forward about how sugar affects dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked with addiction. Studies have found that sugar leads to similar craving, tolerance and withdrawal as alcohol or drugs. One interesting study even uncovered that biological children of alcoholic parents are at a greater risk of having a sweet preference. Wow.
- Serotonin – most anti-depressants are focused on supporting levels of this neurotransmitter. Serotonin makes you feel happy, and if you have certain nutritional deficiencies or your serotonin levels are low for other reasons your body may crave sugar as an easy fuel to make more.
Uncovering which one(s) are at work for you is key to getting off the sweet (but sometimes not so fun) roller coaster ride.
Once you address it your cravings naturally ease up. This leaves you free to enjoy a bit here and there in moderation, without throwing you completely off your game. Ah, balance :).
If you’d like to jump in and begin unravelling the mystery behind YOUR cravings, reach out to me for a complimentary Health Insight call at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we’ll connect in with what’s going on for you and your body, what you’d like to make happen for yourself, and discuss potential first steps and strategies for support.
All the best,