Sugar Cravings - What Happens When That Hotline Blings?
Republished with permission from Silk + Palm an Evio Community Partner
Why do we get sugar cravings, and more importantly, what does it mean about our health when we get sugar cravings?
As an Ex Donut JUNKIE… no joke, I was addicted. I can honestly say that when you have a sugar craving, the craving is REAL, and nothing is going to stop you from having that sugar. It took me a long time to finally pay attention to what my body was actually saying to me when it was craving sugar, but once I figured it out, I haven’t turned back. In this blog I’m going to explain why we get sugar cravings, what it means from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective, and how to deal with them!
The #1 reason that people get sugar cravings is because of stress! When you’re stressed, your cortisol raises, but when you’re stressed for a long period of time, that cortisol actually starts to drop. This drop in cortisol leads to Adrenal Fatigue and will cause you to be tired all the time and you’ll find it hard to have the energy to get through the day.
As adults, we obviously can’t stay in bed all day sleeping, so our body looks for ways to get quick energy… and the quickest way to get energy is with simple sugars, AKA donuts, cookies, cake, pop, candy, ice cream… you get the picture. This energy is temporary though, and will drop again shortly causing your blood sugar to drop with it, which makes your body crave sugar again…and the cycle continues like this.
In TCM, each organ is associated with a flavour and sweet is the flavour of the spleen. That being said, the organ most affected by stress is actually the liver. These two organs work very closely together to harmonize digestion and keep everything flowing as it should. One of the most common TCM diagnosis these days is Liver Invading Spleen, which is caused from an overacting, stagnant liver (STRESS) that attacks a weakened spleen (BAD DIET), resulting in a lot of digestive issues, as well as sugar cravings. The cycle goes a little something like this…
Stress —> Liver Qi Stagnation —> Liver Invades Spleen —> Sugar Cravings —> Sugar Temporarily Moves Qi + Weakens The Spleen —> Weak Spleen Craves More Sugar + Liver Qi Stagnates Again...
So how do we deal with sugar cravings?
Seems obvious, but usually harder then it sounds. Finding some way to manage stress is crucial to your health, whether that involves meditation, yoga, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine or just sleeping in when you’re overworked and tired. And speaking of that…
When you’re tired or not getting enough rest, your body is going to crave sugar as I mentioned earlier, because your body needs the energy. Ensuring you’re getting enough sleep is very important for your health in so many different ways. Sometimes having a little help from a supplement like this next one can help...
Magnesium is very important for keeping your blood sugars balanced, as well as relaxing the body during periods of stress. These days most people are magnesium deficient because of how our food is grown which is just adding to the issue, so even if you eat a magnesium-rich diet, it won't make much of a difference. I recommend supplementing with Magnesium Glycinate at night to help sleep and until stress levels start to balance.
PS - if you find yourself craving chocolate, you’re likely magnesium deficient but don’t worry you can still have your chocolate, just make sure its at least 75% dark chocolate or higher!
Acupuncture doesn’t directly help with sugar cravings but it does help HUGELY with stress. It works by shifting the body into a parasympathetic (your rest + digest) instead of being in your sympathetic (your fight + flight), plus it gives you a little midday nap to chill out and relax!
Sometimes we think our body is craving something when in fact it actually wants water! So before giving into your sugar craving, or any craving for that matter, try drinking a glass or two of water and give it 10 minutes, you'll be surprised!
Exercise balances blood sugar levels, causing you to crave less sugar. That being said, if you’re dealing with Adrenal Fatigue and high stress, you don’t want to over-exercise which will cause your body to be even more stressed. Try moving your body for 30 minutes 5x a week but pay attention to how your body feels after. Are you tired after working out? You’re likely overdoing it… Are you energized after working out? Dope! You’re doing the right amount of exercise!
In TCM, root vegetables are slightly sweet and strengthen the spleen and digestion (unlike processed foods + sugars which damage the spleen) so load up on sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets, turnips and carrots to keep your blood sugars balanced!
One of the quickest ways to stop craving + eating sugar is to stop eating it all together. Although this is the hardest way, its often the quickest results but can come with some undesirable side effects while you’re detoxing. I recommend checking with a practitioner before quitting cold turkey.
Alright babes, I hope this helped better explain what is happening to the body when sugar cravings hit. Of course, there can be many different reasons you can crave sugar but as I said before, stress is one of the #1 reasons! No one wants to be stressed, so let's all chill out and.. ✨GLOW WITH THE FLOW✨