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Healthy Eating: Here’s Why You’re Craving Sweets So Frequently

Healthy eating is commonly rendered pointless with the frequent consumption of sweets and other processed foods. But, if you're wondering why you're always craving sweets rather than savory foods or in fact more than any food, this article is for you.

By Cookist

Sugar cravings are a common phenomenon these days but what does craving sweets really mean? The cravings can be brought on by various things including as side effects from certain foods in your diet or a bad habit that has reprogrammed your brain.

Unfortunately, there are many  possible causes, so it can be difficult to understand what causes sugar cravings.

1. Craving sweets is hard-wired into your brain


Several parts of the brain play a significant role in making you crave sweets. The hippocampus, located in your temporal lobe, is responsible for making short- and long-term memories and plays a very important role in reward-seeking behavior.

Each hemisphere of your brain contains a caudate nucleus, which influences reward-seeking behavior. It is also responsible for forming new habits (both good and bad).

These habits are a conditioned response to sugar cravings, meaning you want to snack just a few hours after having your last meal.

2. Habits can be hard, but not impossible to break

The insula, also present in each hemisphere of the brain, produces emotions in response to a sensory experience.

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The first sip, or just the thought of giving in to your craving, raises dopamine levels in your brain. This neurological cocktail guarantees you great pleasure with every sip, which can be why you crave sweets.

3. Your diet can also cause cravings


There can be foods in your diet that cause you to  long for sweet foods. One dietary culprit is low protein intake. Protein and fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream so your blood sugar can rise and fall at an abnormal rate when you don’t consume enough of them. This makes your body crave quick energy from sugar to try to stabilize the blood sugar roller coaster.

4. Bad habits can promote food cravings

Your sleep habits might be causing food cravings, too. According to research, even one night of poor sleep can decrease the upper brain function of the cerebrum – the part of the brain in charge of complex judgments and decisions – leading to junk food cravings the next day.

Your sleep-wake cycle plays a crucial role in managing the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which promote and suppress food intake. When sleep duration is short, these hormones become imbalanced, which leads to heightened food intake and reduced sensations of fullness.

5. Stress can cause it too


Stress affects your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that alters your circulating levels of glucose and insulin when elevated. Stress affects hunger and cravings in people differently, but it can often lead to an increase in both.

When you're under particularly acute stress, cortisol is high, which leads you to feel that familiar sensation of “overdrive.”

In response, your body will rapidly use its energy stores and seek out quick ways to replenish those energy stores. Hence, it demands sugar!

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