Dec 02 2018

Why do we crave sugar and what to do about it.

Published by at 1:24 pm under probiotic supplements,Sugar

Why do we crave sugar and what to do about it.
Kicking the sugar habit can be harder than kicking a drug habit.

The holidays are around the corner! I don’t know how you feel, but I feel like they were just here! It’s amazing how fast a year can fly by. Just as you are finally getting to that New Year’s resolution, it’s time for another new year and another new resolution! Before the parties kick in and you are tempted with the three C’s…cookies, candy and cocktails, put together a plan for not letting this holiday season veer you off course from keeping your gut healthy and your immune system strong.  

It is so easy to throw caution to the wind when it comes to diet and nutrition when the holidays arrive. Cocktail parties and happy hours, office parties, and cookie exchanges  all tempt you with food and drink that may not be good for your gut. If you have a propensity for sugar, it’s hard to say no when it is in front of you. Especially if you someone who craves sugar all the time.

Why do some people crave sugar and others don’t? There are a few reasons, but the main reason is the microbiome and the type of bacteria residing there. And those that really shouldn’t be eating sugar crave it the most. Once you are used to a diet high in sugar, it is a very hard habit to beat. Sugar in particular has a strong effect on people It  has been shown “…to have an effect on the brain similar to that of an addictive drug…” In fact, for some, going cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, fatigue, muscle aches and headache. (1,2,3)*

Everyone has food cravings from time to time. Most often it is for junk food  and processed foods high in sugar, salt and fat.”… Food cravings are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward…” With the gut-brain axis, it is a two way street. While we may consciously choose to eat a salad over a burger and fries, or vice versa, it can really be the gut microbes driving that thinking. Our gut bacteria can influence the brain’s choices for food. And it is through “cravings”. (1,2)*

“…Microbes may have their own evolutionary reasons for communicating with the brain…” according to  Carlos Ribeiro, who authored a paper on and studies the eating behaviors of Drosophila melanogaster, a type of fruit fly . “…For one thing, they feed on whatever the host animal eats. For another, they need host animals to be social so the guests can spread through the population. The data are limited to animal models so far, but Ribeiro believes that gut-brain communication can provide fertile ground for developing treatments for humans in the future. “…“It’s an interesting therapeutic window that could be utilized to improve behaviors related to diet one day,”…” he says…”.2*

There are other reasons behind sugar cravings as well. “…Many sugar cravings stem from a blood sugar imbalance. When your body ingests sugar, your blood sugar spikes and your body releases insulin to lower it to a safer level. If the insulin brings your blood sugar level a bit too low, as often happens, your body craves foods that will raise it and increase your energy. You’re on a blood sugar roller coaster, and it’s hard to get off it. The key to balancing blood sugar is to eat foods that prevent too much insulin from being released, such as protein and healthy fats, and consuming only small amounts of sugar (if any). It’s also important to eat regular meals and snacks, because blood sugar drops when you skip a meal…”3*

Eating protein and fat along with a high fiber diet, full of healthy vegetables and fruits is  crucial to kicking a sugar habit. For one, these foods feed the healthy bacteria residing in the gut, whereas sugar feeds candidas albicans and other unhealthy bacteria. The more these unhealthy bacteria multiply, the more sugar cravings you will feel because these bacteria want to eat. This need to eat sugar sends messages to the brain to feed them, thus the cravings. (1,,3)*

On the other hand, healthy fats and protein provide a slow stream of energy and vegetables and fruits provide the fiber and bulk to help you feel full. When the body can’t find sugar for its energy, it turns to fats, so eating healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and avocados (in healthy portions) can help your body get its energy elsewhere. Protein helps satisfy hunger and cravings, and some of the amino acids found in protein build the brain chemicals like dopamine, which make us feel good. When we feel balanced and energized, we are less likely to seek a sugar high. “…A study in the journal Obesity found that overweight men were able to reduce their cravings by up to 60 percent by getting 25 percent of their daily calorie intake from protein. The same study found that a high protein diet helped reduce the desire for nighttime snacks by 50 percent…” (1,3)*

Stress  is another thing that can cause us to crave sugar. When we get stressed out, the hormone cortisol floods the body and releases glucose from the liver. This raises blood sugar. Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause cravings, so if we are constantly stressed it is not good for our blood sugar levels. Lack of sleep can also cause us to eat poorly and seek out sugar as we are looking for that energy boost to combat fatigue. So avoid over scheduling yourself and putting yourself in stressful situations when possible, and get to bed early when you can! (1,,3)*

Bad habits can also cause us to crave foods and overeat. If you are used to wallowing in junk food when you are sad or stressed, or you are replicating habits witnessed growing up, we may just be repeating bad behaviors. Pay attention to what your habits are and it’s never too late to change! Just because your parents overate, or had to have sweets after every meal, doesn’t mean you do! (1,3)

But there are ways to ward off cravings.

  • When you crave sugar, identify if you are just hungry or thirsty. Drink a big glass of water and eating some protein, a handful of nuts or some fruit.
  • Have healthy foods in the house, not sugar!
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • When you are craving junk, remove yourself from the situation. Go for a walk, or walk away from the dessert table where the temptation calls you.
  • If you are going to a party or cookie exchange, eat before you go so you don’t walk in starving. If there are only unhealthy choices available and you are hungry, of course you are going to eat them.
  • Reduce your stress (3,4)*

Sugar really is one of those things that we should work to eliminate from our diets. It is just not good for us. And don’t think replacing it with sugar substitutes is the answer. Those are even worse! Completely eliminating our diets can be extremely difficult for most. So remember the mantra…”moderation”! Pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth. Keep a food journal to be very honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable. And in that journal, write down when you are taking your Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ to ensure you are taking it daily and providing your gut the healthy bacteria it needs to ward off those sugar cravings. *

Good luck this month and slow down to enjoy the season. If you do eat some sugar…don’t stress out about it! That will only cause you to crave more.

Healthiest wishes for a happy holiday season,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

Resources:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318441.php
  2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-gut-bacteria-tell-their-hosts-what-to-eat/
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/explaining-the-siren-song-of-sugar-and-how-to-beat-the-habit/2018/01/26/8a9557f8-f7ae-11e7-a9e3-ab18ce41436a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.14a1e765f332
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/14-ways-to-eat-less-sugar

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