Most people are aware that sugar creates spikes and crashes in energy, but many do not realize that the more you eat sugar, the more it causes sugar cravings. Also, it’s not commonly known that refined flours do exactly the same thing. Yes, that means the bread, bagels, crackers, and pasta are doing the same thing as your cookies, cakes, and candies!
And artificial sweeteners are no better at reducing sugar cravings. Read about why this is here.
Many people report having challenges in overcoming their cravings for these types of food. This makes sense because sugar consumption is at an all-time high. In Canada, the latest reports (from 2015) indicate that each day children consume 101g of sugar and teens consume 115g. Adults consume 85g. This is much higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendation of no more than 25g per day.
Here is how eating sugar and flour makes your cravings worse. Excess sugar and refined flour consumption:
Overworks the reward response
Consumption of excess sugars and refined starches produce a large surge of dopamine to be released in the brain. Researchers suggest that this is likely due to the fact that for most of human history, food was scarce and we needed to be attracted to high glucose-producing to survive. With modern food production and widespread availability of refined foods, this is no longer necessary for survival.
When we repeatedly flood our system with these refined foods, our dopamine receptors get worn out (i.e. downregulated). This then provokes more intense feelings of hunger and greater addictive drive in the brain. And as a result, anticipatory pleasure increases and actual pleasure decreases. This means that we need more and more of the refined starchy foods to satisfy us.
How does sugar do this? For one, sugar increases inflammation in the body and the brain and is implicated in depression. Also, with excess consumption, the resulting spike and crash in blood sugar are linked to irritability and shakiness that can worsen your anxiety. And this in itself can be a trigger to reach for more sugar.
Increases your baseline insulin levels
When baseline insulin levels increase, leptin’s message (our satiety hormone) is blocked from being received by the brain. In other words, we are not receiving the message that we are full, so we are constantly hungry. Basically, we lose our ability to rely on willpower. Fantastic! While it makes sense then that we need to stop eating sugar and flour in order to lose our cravings for sugar and flour, many people can’t get there on their own.
What you need is a strategy to create the habits that will make you successful. Check out this 5-day sugar free recipe book and guide to help cut your sugar cravings in 5 days.
Then book a call with Bonnie here to discuss how to continue moving forward with your goals of reduced cravings.