Next month sees the kickoff of Dechox from 1st March till 31st March. But...do you find it hard to give up sugar....is it your weakness, your constant craving?
What is your sugar craving really telling you?
Is a craving all in your head or is your body communicating with you? Some might dismiss a ‘wisdom of the body’ theory as quackery. However, if you think about the biological processes happening within your body and the factors affecting these, the argument to substantiate a link becomes more compelling.
Food is so much more than just calories. It’s information for your body in which to undertake all the biological functions necessary to help you function on a daily basis.
The body really is a wonderful machine, constantly sending you signs and signals about the information (or nutrients) it needs to function at its very best. The trouble is, when you fall into unhealthy patterns, you unwittingly train your brain and body to think and crave certain foods. Often these foods give you a quick fix. You feel great for 30 minutes, yet an hour later your energy levels are on the floor, your tired, irritable and you need another hit to keep you going. Sound familiar?
Craving sugar is one of the most common and well-documented cravings.
In recent years, articles in the media have suggested sugar is as addictive as class A drugs. How true is that really? Or, have you been simply making excuses for your lack of willpower? You’ll be glad to know there is more to it than meets the eye.
The brain needs glucose to function – sugar, which comes from carbohydrates.
When you’ve got a steady release of glucose into the blood stream throughout the day, this process works as it should. You’re productive, sharp, and full of energy. However, too much of the wrong kinds of sugar can throw things off kileter.
Eating something high sugar and high in fat (like donuts, chocolate, cake, biscuits and sweets) triggers the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of reward and satisfaction. By falling into this trap, you train your brain to think, ‘you need to eat this to help you feel better’. You might use these foods to regulate your mood and lower your stress. But in the long run, this sends you on a rollercoaster – with your energy, your mood, stress levels and sleep. Over time, this rollercoaster can result in the development of chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, inflammation, immune suppression or chronic fatigue.
So, what causes you to crave sugar in the first place?
You’re more inclined to eat sugary foods when you’re stressed or tired, because your brain is looking for more fuel than it would be when you are relaxed and well nourished.
Stress causes the hormone cortisol to flood the body, releasing glucose from the liver, which in turn raises blood sugar levels (giving us a boost of energy, relief from fatigue and a feeling of "feeling good"). This feeling is only temporary (30-60 mins) and soon our body is plunged back into a state of stress with an irritable mood.
Fluctuations in blood sugar can drive cravings, therefore being constantly stressed is just asking for trouble and it would be best to find ways to attenuate your stress levels.
POOR GUT HEALTH
A symptom of poor gut health, is sugar cravings. Research demonstrates that gut microbes secrete proteins that function in a similar way to hunger-relating homones, which affect not only our food cravings, but our mood. This means that in essence, the bacteria within our gut generates cravings for the substances they thrive on. One of which is sugar! Consuming large amounts of sugar feeds the wrong bacteria within the gut, and if the gut becomes overran by these opportunistic microbes, a vicious cycle begins. Whereby you may be trying to fight sugar cravings, yet the microbes within your gut are sending strong signals to your brain, heightening the appetite for sugar.
Strong sugar cravings is a clear sign that your gut health needs to be balanced and the bacterial composition within, needs some assistance to help be re-established with beneficial bacteria.
Why not help to kick your sugar habit with my 7 day Sugar Solution Program - the online plan comes with handouts (tips for breakfast swaps), recipe pack, menu planning tool, 7 days of tips, The Sugar Solution E-book and a bonus E-book on Balancing your Blood Sugar.
Removing / Avoiding sugar may:
Improve your digestion – pivotal for gut health and to ensure that the body is absorbing nutrients effectively required for energy production and recovery of muscle tissue.
Help with weight management
Decrease pain and inflammation
Improve functioning of the immune system
Improve performance and recovery
Improve decision making