Craving sugar is definitely a very common symptom many people get, but it is not normal. In one of the more extreme cases, if you crave sugar then your body could be having trouble metabolizing sugar due to a disease such as diabetes. However, you may crave sugar either throughout the day when you are under stress or after eating a meal you may feel as if a dessert is required. Your blood sugar levels are regulated by a fine balance between your adrenal glands and your pancreas. Stressed out adrenal glands from nutritional, emotional and/or physical stress will make it harder for you to properly process glucose (sugar). It is difficult for your pancreas to properly metabolize your blood sugar if your diet is high in carbohydrates, specifically refined carbohydrates, and/or if you’re dealing with fatty acid and nutrient deficiencies. This will lead to carbohydrate intolerance as well as insulin resistance (use the search bar on this site to read more about CI and IR). This is where your body will have more and more difficulty using the insulin it makes to process the sugars that you eat. Many times, blood sugar levels are within normal limits when you crave a sugary substance, however due to processing difficulties, glucose is most likely having trouble getting into the cells and tissues where it needs to be.
As mentioned in other parts of this site, proper glucose metabolism is necessary for repairing your cartilage, optimizing your immune system and balancing your overall hormonal system. Additionally, “fake” sugars and sweeteners from the commonly known aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda), to the supposedly healthy sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol) will not help your cravings, especially the neurological response you get from eating them. You will shift your body from fat-burning to sugar-burning every time you taste them, regardless of the calories or lack thereof.
So as I tell my patients, “Eating some sugar is typically not a problem, but craving sugar is.”
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