It’s 3pm, you’ve had your lunch and you’re fast approaching your mid-afternoon “slump”, often associated with an innate need for something sweet to satisfy an overpowering craving, but why? And how hard is it to stop this from happening? Let’s break this down.
What Is a Sugar Craving?
Simply put, a sugar craving is an overwhelming desire to consume something sweet. Most likely to strike in the afternoon or late evening, a few hours after a carb-heavy meal, and commonly the day after excessive alcohol consumption, sugar cravings can be a challenge to ignore!
What causes a sugar craving?
There are many reasons why we experience sugar cravings. Most commonly, it has become part of a habit that we have unwillingly caused by conditioning our bodies to expect something sweet at a certain time during the day. This conditioning could also be viewed as a mild form of addiction.
Other very common factors that lead to reaching for the biscuit tin are:
- Emotional - seeking comfort from food. Consuming sugary, satisfying foods is a way of “self-medicating” when we’re feeling blue. When we eat sugary substances, it encourages serotonin production in the brain (a neurotransmitter needed for mood regulation).
- Sleep deprivation – this can cause our hormones to go out of balance and confuse our bodies into thinking we’re hungry as the hunger hormone is stimulated, when in fact we’re just tired!
- Hangovers - alcohol is notoriously high in sugar, so consuming a large amount in one evening will inevitably lead to a substantial drop in blood sugar the following day, and you guessed it, this leads to the craving.
- An unbalanced diet typically heavy in carbohydrates – sugar’s best friend.
- Nutrient deficiency or hormone imbalance - we would always recommend seeking the advice of your GP if you are concerned.
Crave vs Crash
When you consume sugar, a hormone in your body called insulin will spike in order to safely manage the new level of sugar in your body. Once this has passed, the insulin level will significantly reduce, this is known as the “crash”. This crash is often what causes the next urge to have something sweet – also known as the “crave”. You may think you don’t over-indulge on typical sugary treats, but this can also occur from indulging in too many starchy carbohydrates, which are basically sugars disguised as wholesome foods. Eating a big bowl of pasta will leave you longing for a big bowl of gelato an hour or two later. You are far better off filling your plate with healthy fats and proteins, which will keep you fuller for longer and you’ll avoid any form of crash and crave!
How can I reduce sugar cravings?
The good news is it is possible to rewire your brain in order to reduce your cravings. As simple as it may sound, though it may be hard(!), the most straight-forward way to rewire your brain to reduce sugar cravings is to resist the urge to give into them. It will be difficult for the first few days, but your body will slowly adjust to it’s “new normal” and accept that it now gets less sugar. This in turn, will lead to less sugar craves and crashes, leading to a more much more stable state.
Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates and replacing that with healthy fats and proteins such as nuts and fish, and swapping white starchy carbs for pulses, lentils and beans is a sure way to achieve a more balanced sugar level throughout the day.
Where CBD comes in
When your brain is signalling that you need sugar, taking CBD will work by entering the body and communicating with the endocannabinoid system to calm these signals down. CBD works to establish balance within the body, also known as homeostasis, which may help to manage sugar cravings. We suggest our best-selling 1200mg CBD oil, which you can take in the morning to set you up for the day, and before bed to support a restful night’s sleep.
There are plenty of controlled study research papers available to view online if you are interested on how CBD may work for addiction!