Imagine this: you are sitting at your work desk, the clock shows three thirty in the afternoon and, suddenly, your sweet tooth is in a wild search for sugar. You struggle against desire for 15 minutes, barely able to concentrate on the screen in front of you, before surrendering and sneaking out three packages of cookies from the office kitchen.
Sounds familiar? Sugar cravings are very common, and can be very difficult to ignore. The truth is that fighting against them with willpower is not going to get rid of them. In this article, I explain the 5 causes of sugar cravings that will probably surprise you, and you will learn how to eliminate your sugar cravings (no willpower is required!).
1. Depression / low mood
Have you felt happier after eating a cookie with chocolate chips? It's not just your taste buds holding a party. The consumption of carbohydrates increases the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the control of mood, among many other things. So, what happens when you eat carbohydrates? You get a little boost with serotonin and you feel happier.(one) It is well researched that low moods and depression cause an increase in cravings for carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods, because your body is looking for that little "hit" of chemical substance to feel good, serotonin.
Action: Try other foods that increase serotonin, such as sauerkraut, bananas, nuts, salmon, and green tea. Exercise is another effective way to keep serotonin levels healthy. If you suspect you may be suffering from depression, visit a qualified health professional.
2. Lack of quality sleep
Sleep deprivation affects our food choices in several ways. First of all, if you are not getting enough sleep, your body produces more "hunger hormone", which causes you to eat more frequently and also produces less & # 39; complete hormone & # 39 ;, so who is not able to recognize when & # 39; re full – which means you eat more than you need. Therefore, lack of sleep is really preparing him to overeat and overeat the next day.(two)
Research has also found that lack of sleep has a direct impact on the rational part of our brain's decision making, which makes us more likely to choose "junk" foods.(3)
Finally, when you have not slept enough, you tend to feel quite tired, and guess what your body will use as a rapid increase in energy? You guessed it – the sugar.
Action: Try to sleep at least 7 hours a night and avoid screens (including your phone!) For at least 30 minutes before bedtime. It is also important to avoid caffeine, refined sugars and exercise at night. Sleeping is not only about the duration, you should be getting a deep and quality sleep to get the benefits.
3. Lack of iron
You have probably heard that iron deficiency will make you feel lethargic and deplete your energy levels. When you suffer with little energy for long enough, your body will begin to look for anything that gives you a temporary boost of energy, including sugar! Hello, sugar cravings.
Action: If you have energy problems, visit your health professional to have your iron levels checked. Make sure your diet contains iron-rich foods such as spinach, egg yolks, red meat, pumpkin seeds and lentils.
Four. Inadequate carbohydrate intake
Oh, the irony. Follow a strict diet low in carbohydrates in an attempt to lose some weight quickly and 3 days after the diet, you are craving carbohydrates and sugar like nobody else. Why? Your body needs carbohydrates to function. If you restrict your carbohydrates, or just do not eat enough, your body will finally scream for some. And you will not want the sweet potatoes or a dark grain bread, you will want cake, or bread, or cookies, or muffins.
Action: There is nothing wrong with reducing carbohydrate intake, just remember that your body still needs some carbohydrates. Eat low GI carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, beets, whole grains and brown rice.
5. Inadequate protein intake
Just as your body needs carbohydrates, it also needs protein. When it comes to sugar cravings, protein consumption is important to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. If you skip the protein at breakfast and at lunch, you're likely to hit it with a sweet craving between 3: 00-4: 00 p. M. Protein and fat delay the release of sugar from food to the body, which keeps blood sugar stable and helps prevent those sugar cravings later on.
Action: Make sure your breakfast and lunch meals contain protein: nuts, seeds, meats and seafood, mushrooms, lentils, beans, etc. A protein-rich snack between meals will also help stabilize blood sugar levels, thus reducing afternoon cravings.
The bottom line is that it is very important that you understand the cause of your cravings. Cravings are the way your body says it needs something, and when it begins to listen to your cravings, you begin to understand what your body needs, be it more protein, better quality of sleep, iron or something else. Cravings have a meaning. Once you can address the cause of the cravings instead of the craving itself, you will no longer need the willpower to "fight" against your cravings.
How do you handle your sugar cravings? Let us know in the comments below.
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