Our brain truly gets happy whenever we eat sugar. I broke this concept down for you and how to try and kick those intense cravings.
Hormones ( the culprit of everything)
Whenever we eat food dopamine (the feel good hormone) is released in the brain. However after eating the same food time after time, the dopamine levels begin to decrease and we no longer find the same food as satisfying as we once did. This is our body and brain's way of telling us to eat a wider variety of food. (Variety is important to receive a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals).
>> Interestingly enough however, no matter how much sugar a person consumes, the dopamine levels will never even out. So when we eat sugar, more and more dopamine gets released, causing us to want to eat more sugar.
Once the sugar is processed, our neurotransmitters crash to very low levels, making us feel bad, lethargic, depressed or very "low." We then crave more sugar to bring us back up or to feel "high". This is also true of other highly refined and processed foods like white flour, artificial flavorings, dyes, additives, etc.
Sugar & Recovery:
If you or someone you know is battling with alcohol addiction - sugar cravings can spike. Why? Because the body of an alcoholic has grown accustomed to receiving its sugar in a much more intense and faster route -- through the alcohol. When you drink alcohol, it is very quickly absorbed. When alcohol is removed from the equation, the sugar craving is still there. Sugar in the form of cookies, candy bars, doughnuts, etc., will relieve some withdrawal symptoms, but it doesn't give the same intensity as the alcohol, therefore, the consumption of sugar increases.
Feel like you can't quit eating sugar? Some tips below may help to make sugar not feel so scary.
•You don't have to give up sweetness. Just get it from various sources. Try fresh berries or pureed fruit on oatmeal instead of sugar. Explore fruit that's dried, frozen, or canned (without too much added sugar). A glass of low-fat milk or low-sugar yogurt can help. Alternatively, having natural sweetener in the form of honey or maple syrup can be of benefit.
•If you make small, simple changes to your diet, it's easy to keep them up. Start by eating more fruits and vegetables. Drink extra water. Check food labels, and pick those that don't have a lot of *added* sugar. Cut out a little bit of sugar each week. After a few weeks, you'll be surprised at how little you miss it.
•Eating protein is an easy way to curb sugar cravings. High-protein foods digest more slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein doesn't make your blood sugar spike the way refined carbs and sugars do. Pick proteins like lean chicken, low-fat yogurt, eggs, nuts, or beans.
•Fiber helps fight a sugar itch in many ways. First, it keeps you full. High-fiber foods also give you more energy. Because they don't raise your blood sugar, there's no hungry crash after. Choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Or smear some peanut butter on an apple for a protein/fiber combo
•Exercise can help wipe out those sugar cravings and change the way you eat in general. Do what you like, such as walking, riding your bike, or swimming. Start out slow.
• Don't fear sugar! It is something our bodies need and it something that makes food enjoyable.