Why Do I Crave Something Sweet After a Meal?

So you’ve decided to cook up an awesome healthy feed and you gobble it up fast, Homer Simpson style. You sit back and feel like you’re not full up. Why? What happens next? What do you reach for?

Usually people reach for an awesome sweet kick to satisfy their urge. It’s completely unnecessary since they’re already full but the urge to eat sweet takes over. Why!?

I’m sure you have had this feeling. I’m going to make a bold call here and say: “we are all most likely addicted to sugar!” Unfortunately, this sometimes ends up completely screwing up our nutritional plan and derailing progress.

I remember when I was training to for an event a couple of years ago and I never had this big of a sweet tooth so why is this happening now? Why is it happening around the mid point of the transformation contest!?

I did some research and found out why this happens:

Our brain has a lot to answer for. It’s an amazingly powerful part of the body! So, I’m happy to blame my brain for every piece of top deck chocolate eaten from here on out.

When we eat foods that are high in sugar and fat, we cause chemical reaction in our brain and disrupt blood sugar levels. This chemical reaction in our brain causes us to crave that piece of chocolate after a healthy meal.

It’s also caused by habit, which is good news since you can break habits. If you become used to always having something sweet a after a meal, your brain expects it. Your brain can tell what is coming next. Shock the system. Shock the body. Shock your brain. Shock, you may see a positive result!

This makes sense because we often feel a craving for sweets at different times in the day. I’ve actually been feeling this craving when I have an instant coffee at anytime of the day, weird huh? Not really, as I have a coffee with 2 pieces of top deck chocolate most nights of the week after dinner. It’s a learned habit. A learned behavioral reaction.

The chemical in our brain that is responsible for these cravings and urges is called “serotonin.” Serotonin is the brain’s “happy chemical” it is the happy feeling we all get after exercise. Serotonin is a mood altering chemical that will cause you to raise out of depression and sadness. When serotonin levels are spiked, it allows us to feel happy and “high” on life.

So, now you’re going out for dinner and….

You don’t consider balancing your macronutrients, therefore you can expect a serotonin rise. You order a carb heavy pasta from the local Italian Restuarant and bam! Your blood sugars rise. You feel awesome and are on a carb high! Next, all that goes up, must come down and you have a drop in blood sugar shortly after your meal. This is when your craving will kick in. Your body starts to tell you to get your arse into the car and to isle 5 of Woolworths, the chocolate isle! Your body wants something sweet so you can get that blood sugar to spike again. And so the process continues.

How to stop those sweet cravings

My suggestion is to eat more balanced meals. Balanced meals from each macronutrient food group. I find myself craving sweets more when I eat an unhealthy meal and that’s because usually my unhealthy meals are filled with simple carbs. Simple processed carbs. Try to stick to a healthy macronutrient breakdown for all meals. Macronutrients are: Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins and I’ll throw in veggies/fruits.

Also, habits are said to be formed after 3 weeks of regularly doing something. If you don’t allow yourself to give in to that sugar addiction in your head, then you’ll be less likely to form the habit.

Be strong and tell yourself that you don’t need it. Get that serotonin release from exercise instead, from working hard in your sessions. A much more rewarding experience.

Keep Fit

Nathan Hitchcock
Define Fitness