It happens for many around 3pm-4pm – you’ve eaten lunch a few hours earlier, but the office biscuit/cakes are calling….”it’s just a sweetener I need!” – Does this happen often often?
Often it’s down to a diet high in processed/starchy foods (white breads, pasta, sugars and man made packaged food) which spike blood sugar levels and immediate energy, our bodies remove this sugar from the bloodstream and soon we find ourselves lacking energy through hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars) and the next sugar hit is required!
So Why do some people get food cravings?
A few reasons are likely such as blood sugar levels (through carbohydrate and sugars ingested) to hormones being imbalanced.
The only exception to this rule is during pregnancy, but often cravings during this time are down to the hormonal changes but the need for additional minerals and vitamins – this latter part will be common to everyday people as we’ll move onto.
Many people talk about a “balanced diet” – I’d say, “What’s that then??!” Ask 20 people and you’ll probably get 20 varied answers to what a balanced diet is. Also, the crucial minerals and vitamins that we need are obtained from the foods we eat. If we’re eating processed foods or those higher in sugar, this will be missing. Equally some “healthy” products can often be low in minerals/vits due to the way you cook them (boiling and microwaving kills many off over raw or steaming), but also from the quality of soil they were grown in or looked after (animal products) this is why it’s crucial to buy as good quality products as possible, but also why supplementation with quality vitamins/minerals or green drinks etc are vital in my opinion.
Sugar or Savoury?!
Some after after sugar or chocolate, others talk about savoury – so what’s the difference and reason?
Savoury – What is Savoury??!!! It’s actually often, a man-made product….pastries, crisps, bread etc. A sure sign of a mineral deficiency, and an out-of-synch digestive system. People craving savoury foods often lack potassium(mineral in banana’s) and Iodine. Iodine is crucial for a healthy thyroid. I would look to invest in, and take;
– Probiotics – in your digestive system/stomach thou have millions of bacteria. Ideally the good bacteria far outweighs the bad, but through poor diet, change in diet/water (holidays), antibiotics which kill off ALL bacteria, the bad bacteria starts to take over. Not only does this cause digestive issues, sluggishness and illness, but will affect how foods are digested and nutrients removed and delivered around the body. Probiotics will feed the good bacteria and hopefully bring the balance back in line. Again, pointless if you’re still on a nutrient devoid diet – lots of natural meats, fruits, vegetables and water will assist.
– Fish Oils – High in omega 3 which will rebalance blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body caused through metabolic processes, and the above.
– A good quality multivitamin/mineral. You often get what you pay for with vitamins. Buy cheap you’ll get cheap ingredients. I’m favouring a quality greens drink at the moment which contains multiple natural ingredients, including iodine
– Higher protein diet – keep to lean meats, fish & eggs with every meal, and majority of carbohydrates through salads and vegetables – feeding the body what it needs
– Minimise sugar and alcohol intake – these are pure sugars which knock hormones out of synch and feed the bad bacteria.
Sugars – Looking to reach for the chocolate, sweets or ice cream?! Again hormones and mineral deficiency is at play. Serotonin is a chemical in the body which keeps us feeling happy and upbeat, and is released from the brain. When levels drop we become depressed, irrational, “hormonal” – a carb-craving often follows as sugars can help absorb tryptophan which is an important catalyst for serotonin levels.
Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which can also signal the body to crave carbs/sweet foods, so managing stress is crucial. Plan tasks, don’t leave things to last minute, don’t worry about things you can’t influence and don’t dwell on things! Deal with those you can, move on/away from things you can’t!
Things to help sugar cravings;
– Fish Oils (crucial for everyone!) – as per above
– Glutmaine – An amino acid that helps keep digestive/stomach lining in tact and helps on lower carb diets with sugar cravings. Take a teaspoon 3-4 times a day with 1 before bed and on waking in water
– Magnesium – this mineral is estimated to be deficient in around 80% of people. Has many benefits from allowing our cells to uptake glucose/blood sugars better (which stops it running riot in the blood stream), helps with better sleep, alleviates DOMS from workouts and is a spark plus for many other minerals and uses in the body. Check this post I did on purchasing
– Cinnamon – a herb that has been shown to slow sugar absorption in the body – read more here
– Protein – Protein releases a hormone called Glucagon which in essence is a fat burning hormone. Carbs release insulin which is the opposite…elevated too often is a fat storing hormone. This is why every meal/snack should contain protein first and foremost (meats, fish, eggs)
– Sleep – Quality sleep helps to regulate hormones and let’s the body “reset” – got to bed late, or have interrupted sleep and this is affected. Have a read of this
Dieting can also have this affect. You reduce calories, but still allow yourself “allowed” soft drinks and processed foods which contain sweeteners and chemicals that further upset hormonal balance. Yes the food is lower calorie but this is WHY fat loss is about reducing artificial foods, and keeping natural (meats, fish, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruits 85% time) not just about calories…..our bodies are SMART machines that require nutrients to function properly. Leave these out, and the body doesn’t function properly, you get cravings, toxins and slow fat loss.
If you want further help with nutrition, a FREE nutrition plan and support then come and join here, for advice that works! Want something extra? then checkout TribeFit on the forum for additional plans, recipes, workouts, support and more!
Choice are always yours!!