Sugar, spice, and everything nice. These were the ingredients to create the powerpu... OK, I'll stop right there. If you got that, you've lived through the 90s' like me. Well, my point is, sugar is everywhere and some of us can never get enough of it, but WHY? Why do I crave sugar so badly?
We need sugar to survive
WAIT! – that doesn't mean you get to spam sugar!
Back to basics – sugar is carbs and we need carbs to supply our body with the energy to work and think. Of course there are many different forms of sugar, the natural ones in fruits or refined sugar like those in cakes. But the body doesn't care where the sugar comes from and it will crave for sugary stuff because that gives us MORE energy.
It's all planned
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Food manufacturers want to earn $$$, so they create food that is addictive – the perfectly calculated combination of sugar, salt and fat. Eating these releases the happy hormone known as dopamine, which makes you happy when you eat it. But this is short-lived and only lasts 1 - 2 hours.
What to do: I know it will be tough but you need to cut down on it or you'll keep wanting more! Start by cutting your intake to 3/4 of your usual intake, then to 1/2 and 1/4. During this time, include fresh and dried fruits, nuts and fermented foods like Kimchi in your diet.
When we're stressed, the body releases a stress hormone known as cortisol. Naturally, the body will want to help you calm down by releasing happy hormones such as serotonin, which is released when you consume sugary foods.
What to do: This happy hormone, serotonin, is also released when you exercise (you know, that shiok feeling after a run).
You're on a restrictive diet
You're on a diet that is 1200 calories or below with no rice and just salads. It's your body's way of trying to tell you "I need more energy", so it will crave for high energy foods, like processed sugary snacks that are high in fat content.
What to do: Increase your daily intake to 1400 - 1500 calories and include more healthy fats like nuts, protein and complex carbs like brown rice and wholemeal bread.
Allow yourself to indulge in a small pack of rocky almond brittle so you can get a quick chocolatey fix without going overboard!
It's that time of the month
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ugh, UGGGGH! Darn you PMS cravings >:( The time of the month is a stressful period for us and your body's stress hormone – cortisol, is at its peak. Hence, it craves sugar to release the calming hormone – serotonin.
What to do: All my life I've had to deal with bad period cramps and nasty cravings but it all miraculously disappeared when...
Photo credit: Luis Quintero on Unsplash
I started strength training – I hate running but I make it a point to do some bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups. One month in and the pain disappeared!
But if exercise is a no-go for you, have a nice big breakfast in the morning with a sufficient amount of protein and healthy fats so you'll have fewer cravings throughout the day. We've also collated a list of "10 things to eat when your period cramps hurt like hell" for you!