The craving for sweets is a message. The body has biology and intelligence that is both innate and learned. Innately, we have cravings that help us meet some need. We have learned to meet some of those needs both correctly and incorrectly. Before processing plants and modern technology got ahold of our food supply, we had a handful of choices of foods to eat.
WHEN WE WERE HUNTER/GATHERERS
When we were hunters and gatherers, we ate animals, green leaves, a myriad of different vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries and fruits. Later, when we settled and were able to plant and harvest, we added legumes and grains to our diets.
We satisfied our sweet tooth with nature's candy... fruits, sweet vegetables, sweet squashes and root vegetables.
SUGAR IN GRAINS
Later, grains became a source of sweet, as they contain a starchy center called the endosperm. It is a simple carbohydrate encased by a fibrous, mineral rich bran and an oily germ that slows sugar absorption so as to keep us from getting an unnatural sugar rush. This simple starch provides the sugar that is often used to feed and fuel our brains, our blood and our muscle tissue. When manufacturing came on the scene and cookies, breads, muffins, crackers and cereals entered the market place, they had to find a way to keep the foods from spoiling.
TEARING APART OUR GRAINS
How they did this was by removing the parts of the grain that would spoil, hence the vital grain's germ (oil) gets removed. Since fragile oils go rancid quickly by introducing light, heat and/or oxygen, the removal would give products a much longer shelf life and reduce losses and therefore protect profits.
The bran was also removed to render a clean, white, smooth product, void of all nutrition. Eating these simple carbohydrates, like white flour, white breads, white rice and pastas are yummy, temporarily filling but empty of nutrition. Eating excess refined grains, causes cravings for more... and is at the heart of our obesity epidemic. These refined grains can be as dangerous as eating too many poor quality fats. The body is used to famine more than feast, so excess carbohydrates are transformed into an unhealthy type of fat called triglycerides that like to store themselves happily around our bellies.
PROFITS STEAL FROM OUR HEALTH
Unfortunately, what was gained in shelf life and financial fortune was borrowed from the health of each and every person who ate of the bounty. What has come of all this is an excess of sugar in the form of carbohydrate and a deficiency in vitamins and minerals, (from the bran) and in healthy fats, (from the germ). Blood sugar related diseases have increased exponentially and obesity and diabetes is at an all time high.
THE COST OF PROFITS IN GRAINS
This is the first time in history that many of our children will die of obesity related diseases before their parents. So, why do we keep craving sugar? We crave it because it gives us a quick energy boost, a happy feeling and a high. Low energy is one of the signs of low blood sugar, yes... but it is not the only reason.
PROTEIN AND FAT
Not enough protein or fat in the diet will mimic a sweet tooth, as the body has very few ways to communicate that it wants and needs nutrition in order to have proper energy. It is not enough to just eat some meat and some lard.
Quality of protein and fat is vital if we want each cell of our body to be built with quality materials. Plant based forms of protein can be consumed as a complete protein by combining two of the three plant food categories. Grains, Nuts and Seeds, and Legumes. You can mix- [Grains with Legumes,] [Legumes with Nuts and Seeds,] or [Nuts and Seeds with Grains.] Also, if you eat animal products, eat pasture raised, grass fed animals that are fed on pesticide free land and if their diet is supplemented with feed, make sure it is organic and non GMO, (genetically modified organisms.)
Thirst will often mimic hunger. It is vital to get enough water each day. The basic guideline to "enough" water is about half your body weight, in ounces. I weigh 110 pounds, so I would drink about 55 ounces of water a day. Adjusting this based on weather, illness, exercise, altitude, etc. is important. Also, the more watery foods and drinks consumed can also count toward water consumption. This is a guideline only, not a hard and solid fact.
Exhaustion will mimic hunger, as the body is craving energy and in this case, it is asking to be refueled with sleep. Staying awake past your tired point will cause a second wind, in the form of an emergency injection of cortisol, your fight or flight hormone. When it kicks in, it will give you a blast of energy that is far from free. The body, like the Mafia, will collect later and usually with interest.
Eating refined foods will mimic hunger; no matter how much quantity you eat. The body is searching for all its necessary nutrients in terms of healthy fats, quality proteins and carbohydrates. Many obese people are hungry not because they are weak, but because they are uninformed and malnourished.
NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK
Enriching a product with synthetic vitamins and minerals will not provide the same nutrition as what naturally occurs from something that actually grew, along with all it's necessary and magical components.
If the body is given processed and/or fast foods, the foods will be so deficient in nutrients that the body will simply continue to ask for more as it searches for the needle in the haystack. In this case, the needles are basic nutrients; the haystack is the fake food that has no real nutrition. It is for this reason that we have so many obese people who are suffering from malnutrition. Here are a few suggestions to manage cravings and create balance.
Drink approximately half your body weight of water, in ounces each day.
Get hugs, touch, massages, manicures... pick up a baby or pet an animal for an oxytocin rush.
Exercise to enjoy a nice release of stress and increase seratonin, the feel good hormone.
Play and find recreation. It's a necessary form of nourishment. (The desire for love and connection is as much an impetus to eat sugar as any strong biological need.)
Eat quality sweets. Fruits, root veggies, high quality sweet foods that are made without refined ingredients. (Our body and soul wants to feel sweet inside. Our mouths are a primordial place to satisfy our desire to feel sweet. We need to realize the importance of balancing sweetness in all areas of our lives.)
Get your rest! (Sleep is one way that the body repairs itself from it's long day of work, illness, injury and energy and over use. When we don't get enough sleep, our body asks for more energy. Our mind often interprets it as the quickest fuel that works immediately, like a drug... and that is sugar and simple, refined carbohydrates.Getting proper rest will refuel the body with one of the proper types of fuel that it craves.)
And remember, when you eat...
Take small bites!