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Why We Crave Sugar


Sugar cravings.

They can sabotage our best of intentions to eat healthy.

They can leave us with such regret and feeling like crap.

So why do we give into them time and time again?

Because we’re not getting the root of the problem.

Our bodies aren’t designed to crave sugar. There is NEVER a deficiency of sugar in the body.

More often it’s a sign of something else being imbalanced in our body.

Sometimes we’re not getting enough protein in the diet. I hear the most intense cravings from vegans and vegetarians, especially in the beginning as they’re trying to figure it all out.

Other times we’re going too long between meals, so our blood sugar levels drop, and our body is trying to make up for that later.

There also could have an imbalance in the gut, with those sugar loving bacteria sending off cravings because sugar is their survival.

But what I find to be the biggest culprit of sugar cravings… stress.

When we’re stressed our body starts to see sugar in two ways.

  1. It sees it as something that’s pleasurable. Tell me I’m not alone in having said I “deserved” a treat at the end of a hard day.
  2. Our body sees sugar as the fastest form of energy. Chronic stress places a tremendous amount of strain on your adrenal system leading to exhaustion and fatigue. That’s when you’re most likely to crave sugar because it sees the sugar as a quick boost of energy.

What the body doesn’t have the foresight to understand is that the boost is short lived and will only be followed by a deeper slump once the sugar rush crashes.

This was probably my first biggest ah-ha when I was studying nutrition. As soon as I had the awareness is was crystal clear. My strongest sugar cravings are when I’m stressed and completely exhausted.

I needed to fix the stress and rest and then the sugar cravings would fall in place.

That mindset shift was huge for me because I then had more compassion when the cravings popped up. It became less of a tug of war or negative self-talk about how I couldn’t control my cravings.

It became more about reflecting upon how my body got to this point and what I can do differently moving forward.

So as we’re at the start of a new week today, and even more so as many of us are navigating our new post-quarantine routines, I invite you to explore the connection between your levels of stress and energy with your sugar cravings.

If you start to notice a connection. That’s fantastic! You’ve identified why the cravings are happening. Fix that and by doing so fix the cravings.

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