You may be tempted to blame the holiday season for suddenly thinking about and eating sweets more often, but there may be other causes for your sweet tooth cravings. Here are six unexpected reasons why you crave candy, cookies, and cake at all hours of the day.
Read on to learn more and find out how to take back control over your diet.
1. ARE YOU THIRSTY
If you're craving a sweet treat in the morning or afternoon, ask yourself when was the last time you drank a glass of water. Often, when you're dehydrated, you think you're hungry and may look to food for a boost of energy. When your body is dehydrated, the signals that let you know whether you're hungry or thirsty can get confused in your brain. This makes you more likely to reach for that brioches or cookie for a quick shot of energy.
2. YOU ARE FOLLOWING A LOW-FAT DIET
If you've recently decided to cut fat from your diet by eating lots of low-fat or fat-free foods, your sugar cravings may seem high. Many processed foods that contain "low fat" or "nonfat" in their recipe have added sugar (and sodium) to help make the food taste better. One study followed a group of participants following a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet for two years and found that people on the low-fat diet tended to report higher levels of hunger. Unless your doctor has told you to follow a low-fat diet, keep healthy fats, such as avocados, walnuts, almonds, and healthy oils such as coconut or olive oil in your diet, as part of your eating plan balanced to help you feel full and control sugar cravings.
3.YOU ARE TOO HUNGRY
Have you started a new extreme diet recently? Sugar is an addictive substance, and when you deprive yourself of important nutrients you need, your body seeks a quick hit of energy that it knows it will get from sweet things. That's why when you don't eat enough calories, you're more likely to succumb to cravings for sweets or junk food, not a bag of raw carrots. When you are on an unbalanced diet or not eating enough, your brain will push you to seek "energy" as soon as possible to survive, probably in the form of sugary foods or drinks. Eating a balanced diet can help control sugar cravings and keep you from eating too late.
4.YOU HAVE A MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
That boost you need to look for in chocolate isn't simply due to declining willpower. A magnesium deficiency has been associated with an intense desire to eat chocolate, because chocolate contains magnesium, according to research. Talk to your doctor if you are deficient in magnesium, and whether a daily supplement or eating other foods like nuts that are rich in magnesium would be an easy solution to meeting your magnesium needs.
5.YOU ARE EATING TOO MUCH SALT
Processed food, junk food, and fast food are full of sodium and highly addictive. These foods trigger the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that motivates us to engage in rewarding behaviors, such as continuing to eat more salt and sugar. Having fewer dopamine receptors can trigger overeating. Basically, you have to eat more to experience that feeling of pleasure that comes from dopamine.