5 Reasons Why You May Crave Sweet Foods & What To Do About It
Despite what we’ve been led to believe to the contrary, not all "food cravings" are a bad thing.
You shouldn't necessarily resist them, because they're actually important signals from your body indicating that something is wrong, out of balance, or that you're lacking certain nutrients.
Of course, one of the most common food cravings is for sweet-tasting foods.
Now, this is not an issue if you're satisfying those sweet cravings with raw dates, raw honey, fresh watermelon or a ripe, juicy mango...
But it IS a problem if you're constantly 'giving in' to the convenience of artificial, highly processed ‘sweet treats’, which are full of toxic, insulin-spiking and highly fattening refined white sugar (not to mention all of the other nasties in the form of chemical additives, preservatives and colourings etc).
There can be many serious negative effects on your body from eating these types of sugary ‘food products’ to vanquish cravings, such as:
- Temporarily satisfaction with 'empty' calories, causing you to eat more;
- Spikes and in blood sugar & energy, before you crash and burn;
- Sugar addictions;
- Diabetes and obesity;
- Long-term more serious degenerative health problems.
What Causes Sugar Cravings?
Although everyone is different and there are innumerable reasons why you may crave sweet foods, here are 5 common factors that play a big role in making you want to binge on sugary substances…
Like most things, dietary choices are one of the key determinants of health and wellness. This is also especially true when it comes to cravings. If you constantly crave sweet foods it may be partly as a result of you eating too many 'empty nutrient' foods like:
- Fried, Fatty, Salty snacks (particularly those prepared with hydrogenated oils and chemically treated salt i.e. sodium)
- Starchy and sugary carbohydrates e.g. Supermarket Packaged Wheat Products like white bread, pasta, pastries, cakes, biscuits and pastries etc…
- Artificial sweeteners like aspartame which are in many diet foods and sodas.
Or not eating enough:
- Quality Protein e.g. beans and legumes;
- ‘Good’ healthy fats e.g. avocados, nuts and cold-pressed plant oils like olive oil and coconut oil
This can contribute to unbalancing your blood sugar levels which brings us to the next factor…
2. Low Blood Sugar
There are only 2 types of sugars:
- Man-Made or ‘Fast sugars’
- Plant-Made or ‘Slow sugars’
The man-made ‘high G.I.’ sugars, the ones most people reach for when they crave sweet foods, are harmful because they cross the blood-brain barrier giving you an almost instantaneous ‘sugar hit’.
This rapid ‘spike’ in blood sugar levels is short-lived though because not long after you’ll hit a trough resulting in a low blood sugar level leaving you craving more sugar to bring your levels back up again. This results in an addictive and vicious cycle leaving you dependant on regular hits of fast sugars throughout the day due to the unnatural imbalance.
Learn more in 8 Tips For Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
In addition to the havoc ‘lifeless’ processed sugary foods wreak on your body and energy levels, they can also cause chaos in your digestive system.
These types of foods are difficult to digest and promote the growth of yeasts like candida, fungi and ‘bad’ bacteria. This then creates the perfect environment for parasites to thrive in because it’s their job to ‘clean up’ excess rotten food and other harmful ‘overgrowths’ in the gut.
Intestinal worms and many other parasites love a steady supply of sugar to feed on as well, so if you’re infested with them as a result of a poor diet and gut health they can actually directly make you crave sweet foods.
Quite often what happens when you start a detox cleanse is sugar cravings get worse as the parasites ‘scream out’ for more sugar as a result of the toxic environment they’ve grown used to as a food supply being cleaned up and cleared out.
Many people find that when they're feeling stressed or under a lot of pressure they begin to get cravings for sweet foods.
There’s a perfectly good natural explanation for this. Being stressed or anxious actually puts the body’s systems into overdrive and uses up a lot of energy including reserves. With fast sugars providing a rapid shot of energy it makes sense that you’d crave these types of foods.
As your stress levels increase, so too does the amount of energy required to fuel the heightened ‘fight or flight’ state. Unfortunately these days with so many people living with chronic stress, it’s understandable that the number of people experiencing sugar cravings has also increased as a ‘quick fix’ coping mechanism.
Learn more in Stress Management Without Harmful Addictions
When emotions are running high, especially ‘negative’ ones like sadness, grief and depression many people will indulge in ‘emotional eating’ with carbohydrate-rich ‘comfort foods’ as a way to soothe themselves.
In addition to providing a quick energy boost, sweet sugary foods also increase serotonin levels in the brain. This neurotransmitter is important for regulating positive feelings as well as playing a role in ensuring quality sleep. However, if fast sugars are used, unfortunately after the initial ‘hit’ serotonin levels can actually drop even lower that they were initially making the negative emotions feel even worse!
Healthy Ways To Beat Sweet Food Cravings
Plant-Based Whole Foods
To replace the sugary treats and processed foods, fill your diet with a lot more plant-based whole foods from nature’s table.
You can also ramp up your intake of healthy fats and more readily absorbed ‘first source’ protein by increasing your intake of certain fruits, vegetables and nuts which are naturally protein-rich.
Learn more in The Truth About Protein & Muscular System Foods
In addition to the nourishment and nutrition they provide, plant whole foods are also powerful tools to use for your emotional health as well. Not only will they provide a steady supply of ‘slow sugar’ to the brain keeping you calm, stable and more relaxed, but eating certain coloured fruits and vegetables will also target the healing of certain emotional states as well.
Learn more in Feeding Your Emotions With Whole Foods
In addition to cleaning up your diet, and in order to help clear out a build-up of ‘internal plaque’ from eating too much processed food, it’s also a great idea to undertake some form of detoxification and cleansing either through:
When you clean out the backed up junk stored in your digestive tract and then do an extended 'juice' or 'water' fast, you not re-set your digestive and immune systems, you also rewire your tastebuds as well!
Additionally, this will also serve to help address any issues with parasitic infestations.
Learn more in 5 Signs You Need To Do A Detox Cleanse & Where To Start
Drink More Water
With the human body mostly being made up of water, this is vital ‘Principle of Health’ plays an important part in all parts of our optimal physiological functioning and wellness.
Being dehydrated or not drinking enough water can lead to cravings as it triggers the same part of the brain that’s responsible for hunger. In order to keep this mechanism in check as well as to ensure all your body’s systems are performing at their best, aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses (2 litres) of pure, clean fresh water every day.
Learn more in Water: Nature’s Best & Why It’s Critical To Life
Reduce Stress Levels
Calming your body and mind will not only help to relax your nervous system but also positively influence your mood and emotions. Try integrating some of these activities into your life instead of reaching for the closest sweet treat:
- Yoga, Tai Chi & Qi Gong
- Earthing (walking barefooted on the sand or grass).
Learn more in 7 Ways To Deal With Anxiety & Find Inner Peace
Certain pure, plant essential oils can be very effective for knocking out sweet cravings and warding off hunger.
Sugar Alternatives & Natural Sweeteners
If despite everything you still crave sugary foods or naturally just have a sweet tooth or penchant for treats, the best thing you can do is seek out plant-based whole foods that are naturally sweet and or use healthy ‘alternative’ nature-made sweeteners instead of artificial ones like raw organic honey, organic agave, organic maple syrup and raw medjool dates.
Tolman Self Care.