Almost everyone craves sugar. If you are struggling with sugar cravings and don't know why, you are not alone. There is good reason for this. Humans are naturally drawn to the sweetness of sugar from the time they are born. It was originally introduced to us from our mother's milk. This sweetness sends the signal to your brain that everything is going to be alright. Feelings of comfort, security and peace are manifested when this sweet flavor hits our taste buds and enters our bloodstream. You know the thought that comes when you are depressed that says "chocolate solves all problems?" At our house, it was always "ice cream solves all problems." God put this craving there to keep our bodies in balance. Let's look at some of the reasons behind our cravings.
1. In every area of life, above all we should be manifesting peace and balance. When we don't have that peace or balance in an area we often crave sugar and other destructive things. What do we do when this happens? Should we just give into that sugar craving and hit the chocolate or the ice cream? NO, absolutely NOT! Then what? What do we do with these cravings?
2. Another reason we may crave sugar is because sugar is in everything! Just about everything you see in the grocery store in a box will include sugar of hidden names in the ingredient list. The worst kind being High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which is now being called "corn sugar" just to give it a little better reception in the public eye. Sugar is very difficult to get away from in the world of fast and processed foods. Sugar is a very addictive substance. It alters the mind and is hard on your body. Once you consume sugar you will crave more sugar throwing your body into a viscous cycle that never ends until you somehow get control. Here is why...When sugar enters your bloodstream, it creates glucose which in turn feeds your cells and produces energy. Depending on the type of sugar you consume, it is released in your bloodstream at different rates. Simple sugars found in processed foods, are made up of small broken down chains of sugar which causes glucose to be produced very quickly in the bloodstream. This is where we get a sugar rush of that immediate energy. When this happens, the body sees this high level of glucose as an emergency. Your body wants to maintain a balance so it responds by dropping your blood sugar levels. This makes you want to eat more.
3. Another reason we crave sugar is because we lack energy. With the fads of high protein/low carb diets, people see carbohydrates as the enemy. What people don't understand is that carbohydrates are the single most important thing your body needs for energy and long-term health. Without them there is no mitochondria produced. These mitochondria are the powerhouse behind your cells that create energy. Without them, we couldn't do simple things like our heart beating without exhausting us, or digesting our food, breathing, or exercise!
No matter if we crave sugar from feelings of sadness or imbalance or we crave sugar because the food we eat is loaded with sugar or we crave sugar because we lack energy, these cravings are still beyond our control. So do we give in to those cravings and eat the sugar to get an immediate "feel good" only to crash later and experience more cravings? Like I said before, absolutely NOT!
Here are some simple solutions. First of all we need to see where our cravings are coming from so we can address each craving accurately.
• If we need comfort, maybe a simple hug would do. Do we need to resolve an issue with someone we just argued with or are we too stressed out in our job? Learning to solve these core emotional issues will reduce these sugar cravings tremendously.
• If we are craving sugar just because we have too much sugar in our diets, we can begin crowding out processed foods by adding natural whole sweet fruits and vegetables into our diet. These natural sources of sugar are absorbed much more slowly into our bloodstream because of the fiber in the whole foods. This will satisfy your sweet tooth without throwing you into "sugar shock."
• If we need energy we need to add more complex carbohydrates found in whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa into our diets. These complex carbohydrates are made up of long chains of sugar which are bound to the fiber in the food and therefore released into your system more slowly giving you a more sustained energy throughout the day.