Do you ever get sugar cravings?
Like…. BAD sugar cravings?
I know a girl who would pour chocolate syrup into a can of cherry pie filling and eat it while she watched TV.
She was on a low-fat, low-protein, high carbohydrate diet, and somehow managed to fit this nutritional monstrosity into her eating plan. (But anyone who thinks that cherry pie filling and chocolate syrup can be on a fat loss diet is obviously lacking in common sense)
Why do most of us get sugar cravings?
There are 2 main PHYSICAL reasons (there are many emotional reasons too, check out this post for some info: Emotional Eating)
Sugar Craving Takeover Number 1: You Replaced Protein With Carbs
The first reason is because we EAT carbohydrate .
If you eat carbs from any grains or processed foods, you’re very likely hypoglycemic, and when your blood sugar drops your body will do anything to make you get it back up. So it sends out “craving signals” to make you knock your friends over as you dash for the candy machine.
And if you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, your brain is DESPERATE for seratonin and endorphins. These are brain chemicals that let you feel enjoyment, happiness, contentment, euphoria, and enhance pleasure. (They are made out of protein, so if you’ve ever been happy in your life, you owe a “thank you” to protein)
So when you are hypoglycemic as a result of eating carbs earlier in the day, and you haven’t eaten enough protein, your brain can’t produce endorphins.
But a sugar rush will trigger an adrenaline surge that will raise your endorphins for a while. But when they drop (inevitably), you’ll be like a junkie looking for your next sugar hit.
Sugar Craving Takeover Number 2: Lack Of Quality Protein Causing Depression
If you aren’t getting enough good quality protein (think animal meats and their byproducts) you are at severe risk for seratonin depletion.
And in case you missed all of the pharmaceutical commercials on TV, seratonin depletion is a fancy way of saying DEPRESSION.
This is because low-quality protein sources lack an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan metabolizes into seratonin, so if your diet is lacking in tryptophan, your brain is lacking in happiness.
And here’s a problem: Most of the best sources of tryptophan are being ruined by industrial agriculture.
Seriously now, feeding corn and other grains (instead of grasses) to our livestock cuts the amount of tryptophan in their meat by about75%. So the foods that should be keeping us happy are deficient because of grain, factory farming, and other unnatural farming methods.
Want to hear something interesting? There’s a correlation between diminishing tryptophan in livestock and rising depression for the past 100 years.
And here’s the kicker: eating grains produces the same low-tryptophan levels in us that it does in animals.
“What does this have to do with sugar cravings, Luke? Get on with it!”
Ok… when you eat sugar you trigger a flood of insulin in your body. Insulin is a storage hormone and as it is released, it “shoves” proteins, fats, and sugars into your cells for storage. And the only thing that isn’t affected by insulin is… tryptophan!!
Once insulin has hustled everything else out of the way, there’s no competition for tryptophan, and it can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Soooo, when you eat sugar, trigger insulin, and clear the path, your seratonin-starved brain gets a taste of tryptophan.
That’s why when you feel depressed you crave sweets, starches, and comfort foods. (Take this Emotional Eating Quiz to see what I mean)
Want to stop these sugar-controlled mood swings?
The easiest way is to eat a diet with plenty of healthy fats, protein, fruits, and vegetables.
Stay tuned to this site for more about nutrition, health, happiness, and fitness!