As we head into the New Year full of resolutions, we leave behind the Christmas holiday period which, for many, has been a period of indulgence. During this time we often find that we have eaten more sweet foods than normal, but then find it hard to cut back. Once sugar levels in our diet have increased the desire for it is harder to resist.
Many factors lead to sugar cravings including fatigue, adrenal stress, emotional factors, hormonal fluctuations and nutritional deficiencies. However sugar cravings can also be driven by psychological factors which increase our desire for sugar to the point where it becomes addictive.
Eating sugar day in day out is harmful and can result in various health problems such as diabetes, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, hormonal balance, irritability, anxiety and Candida. Symptoms of Candida (intestinal yeast) include digestive bloating and other disturbances, poor energy, mind fog and mood swings.
There are ways in which you can work to reduce sugar cravings:
- Consume regular amounts of protein throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Make sure you have a regular intake of magnesium containing foods i.e. rice and oat bran, pumpkin seeds, cacoa powder, sesame and sunflower seeds, brazil, almond and cashew nuts.
- Include a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon powder in your daily diet to reduce insulin resistance.
- Ensure your pH levels are balanced. If you are acidic work towards alkalising your system as acidity increases sugar cravings.
- Remove as much sugar and other refined carbohydrates from your diet as you can. Try natural sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol instead.
- Practise mindful eating to prevent prevent eating in a hurry and over indulgence.
- Work on reducing your stress levels through such mediums as exercise, work/life balance and meditation.
A natural health care practitioner can also help you by:
- Ascertaining whether you have Candida Albicans, otherwise known as intestinal yeast: Candida feeds on sugar and upsets intestinal flora. This in turn increases the desire for sugar.
- Investigating whether you have food intolerances or sensitivities: mind fog and fatigue make us look for foods that produce quick energy such as refined carbohydrates.
- Assisting with hormonal balancing: an imbalance in hormones causes fluctuations in serotonin and beta-endorphin levels. Eating sugar helps the body to make serotonin and stimulates feel-good chemicals in the brain. This improves mood in short bursts, but will will reduce overall energy. This cycle can, in the longer turn, contribute to insulin resistance.
- Reducing adrenal stress: stress increases the release of the hormone cortisol which in turn increases hunger hormones. When under stress we tend to reach for the ‘wrong’ type of foods.
The body is always looking to balance itself given the right conditions. If you would like more information on blood sugar regulation just send me an email or give me a call.