Sugar Cravings

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The 6 Steps to Prevent Sugar Cravings – Part 1

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Anna Churakova Wbf Pro diva

Anna is a Pro Wbff Athlete, she won the Wbff European Bikini Championship in Nov 2016, and was 3rd in May and Nov of 2015.
She is also a level 3 PT Certified by Premier Training and a Step Aerobics Specialist.

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Why do we crave a sweet treat after a meal?

Or at some point during the day? Sugar cravings are common and can often be explained by simple things, like the side effects from certain foods in your diet or a bad habit programmed in your brain.

But some sugar cravings can also be a result of an underlying nutrient deficiency or hormonal imbalance!
Lets consider the psychological and biological reasons that are motivating your sweet tooth.

The Hippocampus
Several areas in your brain play a significant role in the crave sensation. The horseshoe-shaped hippocampus, located in your temporal lobe, is responsible for making short-term and long-term memories and plays a significant role in reward-seeking behavior.

Hippocampus

 

The hippocampus is a small, curved formation in the brain that plays an important role in the limbic system. The hippocampus is involved in the formation of new memories and is also associated with learning and emotions.

Because the brain is lateralized and symmetrical, you actually have two hippocampi.
They are located just above each ear and about an inch-and-a-half inside your head.

 

 

The hippocampus enables you to remember the taste of dark chocolate versus milk chocolate.
In each hemisphere of your brain, there is a caudate nucleus, which influences reward-seeking behavior, but is also responsible for forming new habits – good and bad – like snacking the minute you walk through the door after work, without even noticing it. These habits are more like a conditioned response, meaning, even after a half day of work you have the urge to snack.

Habits formed by the caudate nucleus are hard, but not impossible, to break.

Low Protein
Although your brain can be a challenge to your willpower, there can be foods in your diet that trigger your longing for sugary foods. One dietary culprit is low protein intake. Because protein and fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, when you don’t consume enough of them your blood sugar can rise and fall at an abnormal rate.

The result?

Your body craves quick energy from sugar. It’s the same reason you can crave sugar on a high carbohydrate diet.

Simple carbohydrates enter the bloodstream fast, raising blood sugar, then subsequently raise the hormone insulin. Without fiber, protein, or fat in your food, simple carbohydrates alone won’t leave you full or satisfied, and soon you’ll be wanting more.

Not surprisingly, when cutting carbohydrates from your diet your body tends to crave the quick energy it’s accustomed to, so most of us experience a ravaging sugar craving the first few days on a low or no-carbohydrate diet.

Once your system learns to fuel itself without carbs, the craving dissipates!

In Part 2, I will explain the 6 steps and how to overcome your sugar cravings.

Love Anna xx

References:
Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med 2010;83:101-108.
Greer S, Goldstein A, Walker M. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun 2013;4:2259.