In 2009 more than 50% of Americans consumed one-half pound of sugar PER DAY – that translates to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!
There are many of reasons why you might crave a particular food at any given time. Seeing a commercial for a food or getting a whiff of it can certainly contribute, as can emotional triggers.
Chronic exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, yeast/Candida overgrowth and hormonal imbalances can also lead to cravings for sugary foods. Often, sweet cravings, are the result of a hormonal reaction that is triggered by the very same foods you crave. Eating sugar on a daily basis will cause you to crave even more sugar. When blood sugar levels spike after eating sugar and then plummet, it results in craving more sugar a couple of hours later. Going for long stretches between meals or skipping meals altogether can cause your blood sugar levels to drop. When blood sugar levels drop too low, cravings kick in because the body craves food that can quickly be converted to energy. Typically, this is when people reach for a chocolate bar or other sweet treat. Since the boost of energy is not sustained, another craving will take place in a couple of hours.
Craving sugary foods can indicate that you are lacking certain nutrients, such as chromium (found in grapes, broccoli and dried beans), phosphorus (found in nuts, fish and eggs), carbon (found in fresh fruit) and tryphtophan (found in cheese, sweet potato and spinach).
The science behind it all: The hormone leptin.
It is believed that leptin is a sweet-sensing modulator (suppressor) and therefore contributes to the process that regulates your food intake. It is likely that either a lack of leptin, or your body’s failure to respond to the hormone due to defects in your leptin receptors, contributes to the sweet cravings that affect so many people.
Studies show that animals and humans with low leptin levels (or with defective leptin receptors) tend to become obese. Leptin (a hormone produced by your fat cells) is directly involved in weight regulation by signaling your brain when your fat cells are full, instructing your body to reduce hunger and reduce fat storage. Low leptin levels also diminish your feelings of satiety, leading to continued intake of sweet foods.
If you eat a diet that is high in sugar (and processed carbs), that sugar is stored as fat, which in turn releases surges in leptin. Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant to it (just as your body can become resistant to insulin).
When you become leptin-resistant, your body can no longer “hear” the messages telling it to stop eating, burn fat and maintain sensitivity to sweet tastes. This causes you to remain hungry, crave sweets and your body stores more fat.
As Dr. Mehmet Oz told ABC News:
“Sugar acts directly in the brain to inhibit the effect of leptin and increased appetite so you never feel full. So then you keep eating, and you become leptin-resistant … What you need to do is break the addiction by detoxing the liver, which has stopped metabolizing fat properly. Sugar consumption causes fat to build up in liver cells, which decreases the liver’s ability to metabolize fats and sugars and detoxify your body.”
Dr. Oz actually recommends replacing grains with broccoli or cauliflower for one week, along with eating garlic, chives and leeks, as the fist step to beating a fat and sugar addiction by way of detoxing your liver.
I recommend completely giving up the white stuff – white sugar, white flour and processed carbs. And of couse – NO High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners. Choose a healthy diet that is nutrient dense – getting as many nutrients per calorie as possible. Eat a wide variety of organic, fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts/seeds, beans/legumes. Coming off of sugar can be challenging for many people, but after a few days you will be amazed at how good you feel!
This video is a must see: Sugar, the Bitter Truth
Eat Healthy and Thrive