Why am I craving so much sugar?

Say goodbye to midday sugar cravings with strategies that work

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
Beat sugar cravings
Kickstart weight loss with cutting out sugar

It’s 3:30 pm and you’re jonesing for a candy bar.

Fact: we all have food cravings. 97% of women and 68% of men get them on a weekly basis, and for most of us, this means SUGAR. Understanding how sugar cravings work and how to cull your desire for these bad carbs can lead to healthier living and improved well-being so that you can say goodbye to sugar cravings. Now. 

What Role Does Sugar Play in Our Lives?

In order to know how to cut sugar cravings, you need to know what causes them in the first place.

Contrary to popular belief, sugar isn’t a bad thing. We all need it as part of a balanced diet.

You might already know that carbohydrates (or carbs) are mostly made of sugar. So if you’re eating lots of carbs, then you’re depriving your body further of vitamins and nutrients.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut all sugars and carbs out of your life. Mostly, it’s the bad carbs (processed and refined forms) that you need to stop eating.

What Causes Sugar Cravings?

There’s no one singular answer to what causes sugar cravings, but here are some of the common culprits of your need to sweeten up.

A Natural Need

It’s true: sugar and carbs aren’t all bad. In fact, carbs are what your body needs to help power all the organs inside to keep you functioning. Sugar, in particular, helps your body form proteins and can also be stored for use in the future. But if you eat too many sugars, they’re stored away as extra fat in your body, which isn’t good.

Overgrowth of microorganisms

When we eat sugary foods, they don’t just pass through our bodies and get eliminated. They’re also absorbed by the microorganisms inside your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

When you eat an excess of sugar, you’re essentially feeding these microorganisms more than a healthy amount. What this means is the population of these microorganisms will grow faster than normal, which can quickly cause them to overcrowd the good bacteria.

As this population continues to exponentially grow, their cravings for sugar will increase, as they’ll need it to accommodate their growth. In turn, this bumps up your cravings for sugar.

A never-ending cycle of extra insulin production

The more carbs you eat, the more insulin you produce. This, in turn, tells your bodies to burn up carbs. As a result, your cravings to eat more sugar increase, forming an unhealthy cycle of dependence on sugar consumption.

Stop Eating Processed Foods

Now that you’ve identified the culprits of sugar cravings, what can you do to decrease these? One big thing that’ll help is eliminating processed foods from your diet.

Processed foods are full of carbs and sugar, especially if you live in an unregulated environment that promotes the efficiency of fast food. If your diet is full of processed foods, that’s most likely the culprit behind your sugar cravings.

The best thing to do is to eliminate processed foods from your diet and replace them with fresher, more wholesome foods. It might be difficult at first, but with some willpower, your cravings will decrease over time.

Your Plan on How to Cut Sugar Cravings

So what exactly what the big secret to cutting sugar cravings? Eating fermented foods!

Fermented foods contain something called lactobacillus. This is a type of bacteria that you’ll find in yogurt (labeled as probiotics). Fermented foods are a big source of probiotics that help achieve a healthier digestive system.

How does lactobacillus help with sugar cravings? Let’s take a look.

Restoring balance to your gut microbes

Lactobacillus helps the good microorganisms in your GI tract flourish. As a result, this can combat the overpopulation of the bad microorganisms, which can then decrease your cravings. It can also help with things like constipation and weight loss, and can help you to achieve better mood to help get you through the day better than that candy bar you thought of earlier.

Restoring balance of pH in your gut

When you eat too much sugar, this can change the pH in your GI tract. As a result, this can lower the pH, meaning your gut is more acidic. This imbalance in pH can cause health issues like depression and a weaker immune system. 

By eating fermented foods, you can combat the damage sugar has done and raise the pH again. Once you’ve balanced your gut’s pH, you’ll feel a lot better and stronger.

Eliminating excess sugar

Fermenting foods helps you convert the sugars in it. This means that when you eat foods with lactobacillus, these bacteria will seek out the sugars you’ve eaten and convert them, which mitigates the effects you might have been feeling from eating excess sugar.

In turn, this can help you maintain your blood sugar and insulin levels.

What Fermented Foods Can You Eat?

Some examples of fermented food you can eat include:

  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Kvass

There are a variety of fermented foods you can try out to see which ones you like best.

When you combine all the above tips on cutting sugar cravings with eating fermented foods, you’ll find it a lot easier to resist your mid-afternoon sugar cravings.

Know the Best Ways to Cut Sugar Cravings

You don’t necessarily have to buy fermented foods either. Making your own fermented foods at home is easier than you think, and can save you a lot of money by making healthier food choices. Not only can it be a new hobby, but making your own fermented foods at home can become your new mission in achieving your health goals.

You might also like...


4 Ways to Crush Your Cravings

by Milan Clinkingbeard

Is your internal dialogue or FOMO getting in the way of your goals?

by Dr Lucy Burns
Courtesy of Pavinee Chareonpanich / Shutterstock

Why We Crave

by Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.