Why Am I Craving Sweets?

If you’re craving sweets, it can happen at any hour, but some people find it normally occurs in the wee hours of the morning, about 1 or 2 AM. It may wake you up or prevent you from ever falling asleep. For some, anything sweet, even if it’s sugar on toast, will do. Once you that perfect sweetness makes it to your mouth, you can go back to bed and rest easy. What causes that craving? Is it an addiction to sugar and you’re having withdrawals or something else?

There’s no doubt about it, sugar is addictive.

Think about the pleasure you get when you taste that first bite of a candy bar that you like. It melts in your mouth and not long afterward, you get a rush of energy. That satisfied feeling comes from changes in the brain that occur, which are similar to those that occur with cocaine. It is part of the brain’s reward system, which releases dopamine, the hormone that makes you feel good. One short animal study gave animals unrestricted access to sugar water for an hour a day and at the same time gave normal food. They focused on only the sugar water, just as cocaine addicts tend to focus only on cocaine, forgetting other needs. Just like all addictions, when that rush wears off, you’ll crave sugar again.

How does that affect your sleep?

Everyone is unique, but for the majority of people, that rush of sugar boosts the energy level. A sudden withdrawal can cause sleeplessness and keep you awake, craving the next “hit” of sugar. If you’re trying to withdraw from sugar, it can cause insomnia and craving. If that sugar low occurs during the day, you’ll also crave it, but it won’t be as noticeable as it is late at night. It can become a vicious cycle, where the more you eat, the more you’ll crave it and the more you’ll eat.

Maybe your body is lacking other types of nutrients.

Sugar comes in many packages. Some contain other nutrients your body needs. Is it a specific type of sugar, like chocolate? You may have a micronutrient deficiency, such as magnesium. Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, which may be what your body really needs. If you think that may be the problem, either opt for dark chocolate with the highest cacao content or foods that contain magnesium, like nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens.

  • Is your gut microbiome balanced? Too much sugar can cause an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast love sugar. To help reduce your cravings, cut out sugar and eat probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yogurt or kimchi to replenish the beneficial bacteria and get back in balance.
  • You may be craving sugar because you’re not getting enough calories during the day and too few carbs. The body requires carbohydrates to make serotonin that helps you sleep. It kept caveman awake to hunt for food in lean times.
  • Look at your emotions. Sometimes people eat their way through problems and sugary treats are certainly comforting. If the problem is more psychological than biological, try unsweetened applesauce instead.
  • You can deal with sugar craving by diverting your attention. Go for a walk, exercise or drink a glass of water. If you’re eating candy and sweets out of habit, keep them out of your home and form a new habit, like eating a piece of fruit.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

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