Don’t worry, we all know it without exception – the sudden, strong craving for all kinds of sweet treats. You were just on the right path to finally eating healthier when it interfered again and ruined all your diet plans. It pops up unexpectedly in all sorts of situations – all of a sudden it’s just there, this darned craving for sweets!
It’s driving you to despair: When you finally give in to the strong urge and snack on something sweet, it’s usually not just a small thing – it would be nice! One piece of chocolate quickly becomes a whole bar and instead of one chocolate bar you eat two or three. And shortly thereafter, the bad conscience slowly comes around the corner and makes us feel really bad.
If this happens more often, the calories will gradually pile up. Weight and frustration increase. Because we are disappointed and frustrated, it is not uncommon for us to reach for more chocolate and other sweets in an attempt to numb the bad feelings. A vicious circle arises. Now we’re going to tell you how to get out of this and put an end to those annoying food cravings once and for all.
How Does A Craving For Sweets Arise?
We all know better, so what makes resisting so hard sometimes? Don’t worry, we all have a love for sweets – it’s partly inherited, it only makes sense from an evolutionary point of view, and partly it’s learned: we learn from an early age that sweets are awesome – after all, they’re usually around when we have done something well or on special occasions. This is how our brain associates the sweet taste with pleasant feelings. So, in part, this is a learned behavior that many adults have retained. The good news: Everything you have learned can be re-learned with a little effort and work!
It is most convenient for our body to obtain the energy or glucose it needs for all processes from so-called simple carbohydrates. This is the quickest and easiest way. These simple carbohydrates are in the form of sugar in sweets, white flour products such as white bread, cakes, pasta, or rice, and fast food. These are all foods that the body can metabolize particularly easily. When we consume simple carbohydrates, the brain releases endorphins at the same time. It makes us feel good. And because we naturally want to continue to feel good, we demand more of the foods mentioned.
Sugar actually acts as a drug – when we consume sugar, the same areas of the brain that are stimulated when we use drugs are activated. Above all, the combination of sugar and fat, which is particularly tasty for most people – such as in chocolate biscuits, cream cake, chips, and the like – has a particularly strong effect on the respective brain regions.
The Dilemma: Sugar Makes You Want Even More Sugar
The problem with this is that these simple carbohydrates send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing, only to have them plummet again shortly thereafter. There is no constant satiation and the desire for sweets quickly reappears – this is exactly when the cravings arise.
Causes Of Sweet Cravings
Cravings are complex: a mix of physical and psychological factors lead to the sudden, intense appetite we so often indulge in. The causes are manifold.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s work-related or private stress – it is well known that too much stress is poisonous to the health of the body and soul. But that’s not all: stress also promotes the desire for sweets and can trigger cravings: when we’re under stress, the body demands more energy because the stress hormone cortisol ensures that glucose is broken down and transported into the blood faster.
It is therefore important to find a different way of dealing with stressful situations. In stressful phases, you should make sure you take enough breaks and create a relaxing balance, for example with the help of relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation. Practicing mindfulness also trains your ability to observe yourself so that you can better distinguish when you are really hungry and when you just want something sweet, for example, because you are actually bored or stressed and actually need relaxation instead of the candy bar. Even a short walk in the fresh air sometimes works wonders.
Sudden cravings for all kinds of sugary foods can also be hormonal: During the second half of the cycle, many women suffer from PMS and premenstrual syndrome. In addition to many other symptoms such as mood swings, breast tenderness, or abdominal pain, many women who suffer from PMS also experience cravings.
This is due to the fact that the concentration of estrogen and dopamine, also known as the happiness hormone, continues to decrease after ovulation. The body then tries to stimulate dopamine production with sugary food. When the hormones go haywire again, women usually find it particularly difficult to stop themselves.
Sometimes it seems impossible to get full at all. On days like this, when our hormones have us firmly in their grip, we should try to be kind to ourselves and accept that these days exist. Take comfort in the knowledge that they will pass and that you are eating healthier most days.
Another trigger of annoying food cravings can be too much of a calorie deficit when losing weight. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you may have noticed that you’ve had an increased craving for sweets during this time. The hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate satiety and the feeling of hunger, are particularly effective here: If the calorie intake is reduced, the leptin concentration also falls after a while and the ghrelin concentration increases. This ratio of the two hormones signals the body: Hunger! This mechanism is sometimes one of the reasons why diets don’t work. Only a moderately reduced calorie intake in connection with a change in the diet leads to long-term and sustainable weight loss success.
Boredom & Bad Mood
The role of psychological factors should also not be underestimated when it comes to the development and prevention of cravings. If we are not fully utilized, we often eat out of sheer boredom, for example. A fulfilling activity distracts you from thoughts revolving around food. Of course, finding such a job is easier said than done.
Sometimes, when we’re not feeling well, it’s a natural attempt to make ourselves feel comfortable by feeding us sweet foods.
These Foods Encourage Cravings For Sweets
Certain foods promote the occurrence of food cravings by causing the blood sugar level to fluctuate sharply. This includes foods that are largely made up of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates don’t just come in the form of pure sugars. In addition to the white flour products and fast foods already mentioned, numerous other foods contain simple carbohydrates that promote cravings.
You can also find them, for example, in chips, glucose, honey or agave syrup, most pastries, sugary drinks such as juices, soft drinks, and the like, but also in alcohol. In addition, sugar is hidden in many foods today under other names such as sucrose, dextrose, raffinose, glucose, fructose or fructose-glucose syrup, starch syrup, lactose, maltose, malt extract, or barley malt extract.
The Solution To Cravings For Sweets: Keep The Blood Sugar Level Constant!
If you want to prevent cravings, reduce your intake of the above foods. By keeping your blood sugar levels as constant as possible, you minimize the likelihood of unwanted cravings occurring. Instead of white flour products, it is better to use whole grains.
If you eat carbohydrates, you should consume them in the form of what are known as complex carbohydrates, such as those found in oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and pasta. The fiber it contains will keep you fuller for longer and stabilize your blood sugar, so you’ll experience fewer cravings.
Regular Meals, Few Snacks
Regular meals also stabilize your blood sugar level and keep you full. Try to limit small snacks in between to a maximum of two snacks per day. Eat your fill for the three main meals, which should be as high in vegetables and protein as possible, as well as some healthy fats.
Miracle Cure Water
In one study, participants were able to lose weight without changing their diet by just drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes before each meal. So, always drink a lot, it fills the stomach! We often confuse hunger with thirst. So the next time you feel like gummy bears and the like, drink a large glass of water first and wait a while.
Exercise And Sleep
Physical activity distracts, ensures a healthy balance, gets your metabolism going, and releases endorphins. Getting enough sleep is just as important so that your body can regenerate optimally and you don’t misinterpret tiredness as a signal of hunger.
Trick 17: Meal Prep
You can also use the so-called meal prep for yourself: Unhealthy snacks are often simply packaged and you only have to tear open a bag. Healthy, delicious food, on the other hand, usually involves more effort and has to be prepared first. However, if healthy meals are already prepared in the fridge, it is much easier to resist sweet temptations.
These Foods Curb Appetite: Proteins
In order to prevent cravings, you should eat the most filling foods possible: A protein-rich diet is particularly suitable because proteins keep you full for a long time and also have a low-calorie density. Foods that contain a particularly large amount of protein are, for example, low-fat quark, chicken, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, or tofu. In addition to proteins, vegetables and fiber also fill the stomach and keep you full for a long time.
Don't Be Afraid Of Fat
A common assumption that fats are the reason people gain weight is long outdated. But this myth still persists and is mainly strengthened by the food industry. Because it has a significant interest in distracting from the actual fattening and food cravings caused – the sugar. Sugar is a particularly cheap filler and is therefore now integrated into many foods. As a result, we become accustomed to the taste even from an early age and crave more and more sugar, making foods without added sugar appear bland and tasteless.
In fact, healthy fats are essential for our body to be able to absorb important vitamins in the first place. Healthy fats are found, for example, in many seeds such as linseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and other nuts, almonds, salmon, and other fish or in high-quality, cold-pressed oils such as olive or linseed oil and you should therefore integrate them into your daily diet. So you can add a few flaxseeds to your breakfast yogurt or grab a few nuts as a healthy snack in between. Even if these are high in calories – 100 g of walnuts have over 650 calories – you will not gain weight as a result, quite the opposite: the healthy fats have a high omega-3 content, keep us full for longer and thus counteract cravings.
Cravings For Sweets? Don't Despair!
One thing should be clear: your body is your friend, not your enemy. Even if you can’t resist the occasional chocolate cream cake, don’t treat yourself badly or be mad at yourself because you have such a hard time resisting sweets! That happens to all of us. A few gummy bears from time to time won’t harm the figure either. The only important thing is not to let food cravings become routine and to pay attention to a balanced, healthy diet overall.