Let’s talk cravings. Cravings are a natural — and even healthy! — way for our bodies to communicate with us. They can indicate an imbalance, a mineral need, or an emotional trigger. Tuning into these signals can be a great way to give our bodies what they need. But first, we need to understand what they mean.
Some cravings are simple, like a big fresh salad when it’s hot outside or a piece of grilled chicken when you need protein. But what about sugar cravings? Since our bodies don't ever need sugar, what are these cravings trying to tell us and why are they so hard to ignore?
Let’s look at the six most common reasons we crave sugar and how we can give our bodies what they actually need instead.
6 Reasons We Crave Sugar (And What To Do About It)
Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Our bodies are constantly working to keep our blood sugar in a balanced state. When this blood sugar drops too quickly, our bodies will crave a quick fix in order to bring it back up. And, unfortunately, the quickest fix is with sugar. This causes a negative roller coaster effect, though, since sugars and processed carbs are quickly digested, leading to a spike in blood sugar and, as the body tries to balance that sharp spike, a subsequent drop. Keeping our blood sugar in check is the best way to prevent these fluctuations and the sugar cravings that come with them.
The Fix: Eat balanced meals with plenty of protein, fiber-rich carbs, and healthy fats. These nutrients take longer for the body to digest, helping to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized until your next meal.
Magnesium is an important mineral used in a large number of functions throughout the body — from energy production and muscle relaxation to protein synthesis and DNA repair. And it’s a mineral that many of us are deficient in. Low levels of magnesium make it harder for your body to convert the food you eat into energy, resulting in fatigue and craving the quick energy boost from sugar. Raw cacao is a good source of magnesium, so if you find yourself craving chocolate, a magnesium deficiency might be to blame.
The Fix: Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet through foods like pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, avocado, wild-caught salmon, and raw cacao.
While some signs of dehydration might seem obvious — like dry mouth and headaches — those are actually late-stage signs of dehydration. The earlier signals often go unnoticed or misinterpreted as fatigue or hunger. And since sugar is a quick source of energy, it’s not uncommon to reach for something sweet when what your body really needs is hydration.
The Fix: Prioritize your hydration. Start your day with a large glass of water and then keep refilling that glass all day. If you find yourself getting tired of plain water, jazz it up by adding slices of lemon or cucumber, fresh mint leaves, or berries. Or, switch things up by brewing a cup of herbal tea.
Sugar consumption increases serotonin, which means you feel temporarily happier after eating something sugary. The problem, however, is that your brain remembers that easy mood boost and will start to crave it anytime you’re feeling stressed out, grumpy, or just plain down.
The Fix: Manage your stress levels. Easier said than done but committing to even just 15 minutes a day of mindful self-care can have a meaningful impact on stress levels. It doesn’t matter what that self-care looks like, either: reading, yoga, meditation, journaling, listening to your favorite music. Whatever makes you feel centered, relaxed, and happy.
The bacteria in your gut have an impact on so many aspects of health, it should come as no surprise that they might be impacting cravings, too. Things like chronic stress and a diet high in processed foods can cause opportunistic bacteria the to overrun the healthy bacteria in your gut. And these opportunistic bacteria often feed off sugar, meaning they will start telling your brain to crave more sugar.
The Fix: Eat a diet rich in a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods to provide the gut with a good mix of the fiber it needs to thrive. Include fermented foods, such a plain yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut, and consider supplementing with a high-quality Probiotic.
Force Of Habit
Humans are creatures of habit, so if you’ve been in the routine of grabbing a sweet treat every day at 3pm then you’re likely to start craving that sweet treat every single day whether you’re actually hungry or not. In fact, you might not even fully notice you’re eating that sugar snack until it’s already happening.
The Fix: The first step to changing this habit is to become aware of it. Try to catch yourself in the act and question your motives. Then, try to replace that mindless treat with a more mindful snack, like apples and peanut butter or a small handful of raw almonds. Habits are tricky to break, so set yourself up for success by stocking up on nourishing snacks.
Speaking Of Snacks...
How about a healthy, delicious snack that can also help combat cravings? Cacao Bliss starts with rich, decadent raw cacao and is blended with additional superfoods like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, MCT powder, and more to create a truly delicious and nourishing drink. Plus, this superfood blend can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels, give you natural energy and mental clarity, and support a healthy inflammatory response! *
Give Cacao Bliss a try today and enjoy your love of chocolate without the added guilt!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.