Why do you crave sugar?

sugar cravings, candida, Toronto, black bean brownies, healthy dessert

Do you ever find yourself walking back and forth in your kitchen, scouring your cupboards and fridge for something sweet?  It's the bittersweet craving for sugar.  You know you don't need it, but your body is telling you that you have to have it!  

There are many reasons why we crave the sweet stuff.  Sometimes after eating a savoury meal, dessert is expected as the perfect complement to the main course.   Dessert is part of celebrating.  Sweet things are delicious and make us feel good.  And, sometimes it's important to enjoy this part of life.  But, sugar can become problematic when cravings begin to overtake us.  

Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney and are responsible for producing hormones that help the body to regulate blood sugar levels, and support a healthy metabolism to burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The adrenals release a number of hormones such as the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone is specifically linked to sugar cravings.  When the adrenal glands are overworked, the stress response is activated. In our culture, we are often stressed due to our demanding lifestyles, putting stress on the adrenals. In response, we produce too much cortisol for our body to handle. Producing too much cortisol for a long period of time can lead to many negative effects such as blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, and inflammation, increased abdominal fat and lowered immune function. This is also known as adrenal fatigue. When you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you tend to crave sugar as a quick source of energy just to keep you going. 

 

Candida Growth

Another reason for your sugar cravings may be Candida, a tiny yeast that lives in our gut and creates imbalance. There are good and bad types of bacteria throughout the digestive system. The gut relies on this balance between good and bad bacteria to maintain optimal health. Due to many of our everyday choices, we tend to destroy that balance from making poor food choices, stress, and harmful chemicals in the environment. All of which tilts the balance in the favour of bad bacteria in the gut.

When we eat large amounts of sugar and foods that act like sugar in the body, we tend to grow gut flora that also likes to thrive on sugar. The bacteria and yeast in the gut will eat most of the sugars you consume and leave you craving more because they have stolen and consumed them first!

 

Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to deal with your sugar cravings.

  • Aim to consume low glycemic snacks such as: nuts and seeds, carrots with hummus, and fresh strawberries. These foods will not spike your blood sugar as quickly.
  • Chose sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
  • Aim for whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oats) over processed white grain products. 
  • Increase your legume and bean intake, they help to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full, longer.
  • Consume foods that contain probiotics for optimal gut health such as: kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh (we use soy-free tempeh in our Meal Delivery meals!!) and kombucha tea.
  • Incorporate healthy fats and protein such as avocados, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil and fish into your diet to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Use natural sweeteners in moderation such as maple syrup, honey, dates and stevia.
  • Drink plenty of water, sometimes you’re just thirsty!
  • Wean off carbonated drinks by replacing them with sparkling water, maybe add a lemon wedge too. 
  • Eat mindfully and be mindful of portion sizes. It’s okay to splurge and treat yourself in moderation. 

 

We can help

We hope that you find these tips useful. Let us know how they work for you and share this post on Facebook or Twitter. 

Still struggling to kick sugar to the curb? We can help make it easier for you! Check out our Meal Delivery menu online or try our June Detox that begins June 6th 2016. You can do it, after all, it’s just sugar.

 

About the writer:
Celena Morgan, George brown nutrition student, passionate about feeding people delicious and nutritious foods.

Sources:
Wilson, James L., DC, ND, PhD, Cortisol & Adrenal Function (2016)
Olson, Scott, ND, Sugar and Candida (2014)