Have you ever gone through a day where all you can think about is sinking your teeth through a hot, fluffy donut or a big slice of chocolate cake? We all have those days. If this is a constant craving, though, it could mean a few things about your body.
While you may not have diabetes, blood sugar can still fluctuate throughout the day and cause cravings for sweets. Consuming sweets will only cause more problems because your blood sugar will rise quickly and drop quickly leaving you left with the same problem and more cravings. Instead, eat balanced meals throughout the day with a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Choosing items that are less processed will also help prevent drops in blood sugar. For example, a chicken stir fry with vegetables and brown rice is a good balanced meal for blood sugar stability.
When you’re tired the body looks for any way to get energy-usually in the form of glucose and simple sugars. If you haven’t been sleeping well, your cravings are most likely because you need a quick form of energy. Again, stick to eating balanced meals to avoid energy spikes. Also, try going for a quick walk. Some exercise has been found to reduce tiredness.
Those with higher stress levels are found to crave sugar more. Take a deep breath and drink a large glass of water. Slow down and recognize that your cravings are because of stress and eating more sugar won’t help.
Being stressed, tired, and having headaches and cravings can all mean an under-active thyroid gland. Drink more water to flush the body and cut back on the amount of caffeine you’re drinking. Also, getting more sleep and eating wholesome, unprocessed food can help bring your thyroid back in balance.
When you are under a lot of stress, your adrenal glands pump out extra adrenaline and cortisol hormones to cope. Eat lots of high-protein meals throughout the day to make it easier to cut back on sugar. Also use whatever calming technique works best on you: reading, writing, taking a walk, or doing yoga are all options.
When your body is deficient in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc), you will crave food even when you may not need more calories and you are not hungry. You may especially be in need of these nutrients:
- Chromium: broccoli, grapes, beans, chicken
- Carbon: fresh fruits
- Phosphorus: chicken, beef, liver, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, whole grains
- Sulfer: cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
- Tryptophan: cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
What do all of these foods have in common? They are whole, unprocessed foods in a wide variety. They come in lots of different colors and textures to give the body a whole range of nutrients. Remember: variety is key for having a healthy diet.