Why You Crave Sugar

If you're craving sugar, the problem may be more serious than merely trying to satisfy an occasional sweet tooth. You may be addicted to sugar.

Researchers at Princeton University conducted several laboratory studies on rats and found that when the rats were given too much sugar, they suffered from withdrawal. Once the substance was taken away, the rats would continue to crave sugar for weeks afterward. The studies also showed that sugar can be as addictive as substances like cocaine, morphine, and nicotine. Although to date, there are no corroborating studies in humans to prove that sugar is as addictive as alcohol and other drugs.

Why Sugar Cravings Exist

While mild sugar cravings are common and usually temporary and rarely require medical attention, if you are experiencing frequent or intense sugar cravings, talk to your doctor to determine whether you have a health condition. Intense desires for sugar may be the signal of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), the hormonal changes that take place before your menstrual cycle. Sticking to an exercise routine and eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, such as legumes, potatoes, corn, rice, and whole grains, will help keep you feeling satisfied. Some other causes of sugar cravings may include the following:

  • Dieting: According to some studies, adhering to a high-protein diet with little or no carbohydrates may cause heightened sugar cravings compared to people who consume diets high in carbohydrates or balanced diets. Eating too few calories can also trigger sugar urges because you're not getting enough energy from food, setting off a desire for high-carbohydrate sweets.
  • Depression: According to studies published in the Journal of Nutrition, psychological disorders including depression and anxiety may be associated with higher levels of sugar cravings. The cause may be a chemical reaction in the brain brought on by carbohydrate-based foods such as sugar, which may boost serotonin, a hormone that elevates mood.
  • Diabetes: There are two types of diabetes, a disease in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose (a form of sugar): type 1, formerly called juvenile diabetes, and type 2. Untreated diabetics may crave sugar because their blood sugar level is very high, but their bodies are unable to use the sugar circulating in their blood.

In addition to sugar cravings, if you are feeling extremely fatigued and thirsty, have frequent urination, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet, weight loss, and increased hunger, seek medical attention.


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Craving Sugar & Diabetes

Sugar Can be Addictive, Princeton Scientist Says