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Ever feel like sugar cravings rule your life? That you carefully plan your meals for the day, only to cave and give in to your desire for more sugar. You might feel guilty, or like you are the one to blame, but there is a reason – and there is a solution. Let’s talk about it today.
Read on to discover how to free yourself from the chains of cravings and restore your power and control over your health.
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
Sugar cravings are most common for those suffering from:
- Bad Gut Flora
- Liver Overload
- Magnesium Deficiency
- Poor Sleep
Let’s dive into each one of these to learn more about them.
Stress can come in all shapes and sizes – from what is known more typically as “stress” to sleep issues and poor blood sugar control.
When you are stressed, your adrenal glands secrete cortisol and over time with chronic stress cortisol can cause premature aging and weight gain.
During acute stress, your appetite is typically suppressed. However, chronic stress generally promotes wanting, seeking, and intake of palatable energy-dense foods.
Key Insight: One study observed 339 adults and found that there were significant relationships with chronic stress and food cravings, with more women having cravings for sugar, while men tended to have higher cravings for high-fat foods5.
Bad Gut Flora
Our overall health depends a lot on the impact the multiple strains of bacteria and other microbes living in our digestive tract. These gut “flora” play important roles like making healthy vitamins and keeping our digestive tract working right.
They can also break down foods we consume and in doing so make by-products small enough to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. These byproducts, or “metabolites,” can act as neurotransmitters in the brain, affecting our thoughts, hunger or satiety.
Key Insight: When there’s a shift favoring the population growth of not-so-good gut flora in your intestinal tract, their by-products can affect your brain creating cravings for sugar, chocolate, etc., foods which contribute to their benefit and growth.
About once every minute your liver filters your entire blood supply. On top of that, your liver stores vitamins, processes or activates your hormones and detoxifies your body. It also helps control your blood sugar by storing and releasing fuel, in addition to numerous other tasks it performs.
Key Insight: When the liver becomes bogged down or overloaded it can’t keep up with its many functions – one of which is blood sugar control – which can illicit sugar cravings as a quick way to make you eat something sugary to raise your low blood sugar.
Magnesium is a key nutrient needed by the liver in order to carry out its many processes (1). When this nutrient is depleted, the liver cannot carry out its many functions, which includes your blood sugar control. So, this is typically where the cravings begin.
The sleep hormone, melatonin, helps us sleep but also helps the liver, too. While you sleep, your liver is still working and melatonin is helping your liver rebuild its glycogen stores (which are stored fuel that your liver uses to control your blood sugar, in case you miss a meal).
Key Insight: If you don’t sleep your liver has a tough time restoring its supply of glycogen. When it cannot release glycogen to help raise your blood sugar and keep it steady, it causes you to have sugar cravings.
Foods to Beat Sugar Cravings
There can be many behavioral and food choices that people use to curb the sugar cravings, such as sleeping more or eating more protein. Certain foods do tend to be more helpful:
- Protein – enjoyed with every meal
- Magnesium – magnesium-rich foods (like adzuki beans or almonds)
- Water – staying hydrated always helps!
- Resistant Starch (RS)
Bottom Line: Many tend to think that carbs are the enemy for blood sugar, but today we are going to talk about how resistant starch, a carbohydrate, can actually help you control your blood sugar and knock out those sugar cravings (2)!
All About Resistant Starch
RS is a type of carbohydrate that resists digestion. It was first characterized in 1982 and then rapidly studied for their ability to improve colon health2.
One of the ways was by improving the growth of good gut flora, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species1. RS becomes fermented in the large intestine by your gut flora which in turn produce short chain fatty acids which are very important for the health of your colon’s cells.
Key Insight: The other benefit is it can curb sugar cravings by improving your gut flora. Remember, when your gut flora has beneficial bacteria in abundance it makes a healthy digestive system, reduces sugar cravings, and improves your overall health.
The key foundation to restoring healthy cortisol levels and the adrenal response is through carbohydrates and RS (3). So, healing the adrenals and controlling cortisol secretion is one way RS can help curb those sugar cravings for good.
RS also helps improve liver function so it can better regulate our blood sugar4. RS on its own also helps stabilize blood sugar. It improves glycemic efficiency by reducing the amount of insulin required to manage postprandial glucose while improving fasting insulin sensitivity in adults at increased risk of T2D3.
Where Can You Find RS?
All it takes is adding as little as ¼ – ½ cup of some of these food items to each meal:
- Potatoes – Boiled, then chilled
- Green Banana Flour – Can be used to cook with or added to a smoothie
- White Beans – Like navy, cannellini, or great northern
- Adzuki beans – A great source of RS and magnesium!
- Metabolism Reset Shake – Equipped with both protein and RS to really help stabilize your blood sugar and curb those cravings.
Key Insight: Want to find out even more about incorporating RS into your diet? We have a comprehensive list which you can grant you even more ideas today (4).
How Long Does It Take To Stop Craving Sugar?
By adding more resistant starch to your diet, you should start to see a reduction in cravings and the benefits of stable blood sugar and re-regulation of numerous body systems in as little as 1 week (5).
Bottom Line: Sugar cravings may seem overpowering, but adding resistant starch to your diet takes little effort and can change your world!
Stop Craving Sugar Today
Today we covered just how sugar cravings have more to do with your physiology than your willpower. In fact, liver overload, blood sugar imbalances, and your intestinal flora can completely dictate the number of cravings you get.
Carbohydrates, especially resistant starch, can actually help you with blood sugar balance. It does this through various avenues, including improved liver function, better intestinal flora, and cortisol balance.
If you want to learn more about resistant starch in your life, check out our Daily Reset Shake – a tasty and convenient way to help you combat your sugar cravings. Then, reserve your copy of Dr. Christianson’s latest book, “Metabolism Reset Diet” today!
Written by Dr. Raquel Espinol of Integrative Health. Dr. Raquel Espinol, Associate Physician with Integrative Health specializing in Thyroid, Adrenal, Male/Female Hormonal imbalances and weight loss management.
Learn more about Dr. Espinol here.