Weekly Wellness: Am I addicted to sugar (or is it something else?
COLUMBIA - There has been a LOT of attention given to the topic of sugar and sugar addiction as of late. Many articles, documentaries, diets to try, and more. I've had many clients express with frustration "I think I'm just addicted to sugar!"
If you are someone who doesn't have a serious sweet tooth but, for some reason, have been craving sweets, there might be a few other reasons (not just addiction).
Cravings occur when there's a sense of depletion. If your body is lacking in certain nutrients or needs, it seeks satisfaction in other ways. Here are a few possibilities for what may be driving those sweet cravings:
Magnesium Deficiency: For many people, a sugar craving in the form of chocolate could signal a lack of magnesium.
In the United States, 80% of people may be deficient in the mineral, which can be tied to irritability, insomnia and high blood pressure. If you feel stressed, you may think you need chocolate, but it could be your body needing magnesium instead.
The cacao in chocolate is a rich source of magnesium (however, we might want to find sources that don't have as much sugar as chocolate), so reach for non-sugar magnesium sources like nuts, seeds, beans and dark leafy greens.
Imbalanced Gut Bacteria: Sugar cravings can sometimes be the result of an imbalance in your gut health, which means that all those good bacteria in your digestive system aren’t working as happily as they could be. Actually, consuming sugary foods can cause the gut bacteria to become dependent on it, and cause rejection when healthier foods are introduced.
By bringing in foods that promote healthier bacteria (probiotics like low-sugar yogurt, kombucha and other fermented foods) the good bacteria can replace the bad.
Not Enough Rest: Sure, sleep is resting, but there are also other non-sleep rests too. Integrating short rest periods into every day, especially at times when sugar cravings are strong, can be very helpful to curb those desires for sweets. Instead of an afternoon walk to the vending machine, how about an afternoon walk outside? Believe it or not, walking is a conscious form of rest because it offers a break from everyday stressors.
So, if you are someone who has been on a sugar kick lately (or maybe even for a while), see if you can identify the issue by trying to cut down on your sweets and incorporating some of the fixes shared here. It may not just be about the sugar.