A craving for sugar? It's normal ! Your body cries out for it when it feels your blood sugar is dropping. If you go from a standard diet to a ketogenic diet, you're bound to crave sugar, chocolate, or cake!
This guide will help you understand your cravings and thwart them. And it all starts with understanding why your body is so desperate for sugar! If you are looking for ketogenic sugar-free preparations that will satisfy your sugar cravings, it is by here !
Our body's relationship to sugar
Our bodies have been programmed to need sugar: carbohydrates make up almost 50% of the calories in the standard diet.
Switching to a low-carb or ketogenic diet upsets this system: you will limit carbohydrates to 5-10% of your daily calorie intake, or about 20-50g of net carbs per day, depending on your body type, activity level and goals. You will also aim to consume less than 10g of sugar per day.
These drastic changes in your diet are necessary if you want to enter ketosis: persevere, because your body will resist at first. He craves sugars for several reasons.
# 1 glycemic imbalance
If you are not yet on a keto diet, your body gets its energy from carbohydrates.
When you eat, your blood sugar rises and then falls as insulin is released from your pancreas. Sometimes your body releases a lot of insulin: this causes your blood sugar levels to drop and can cause sugar cravings, fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and headaches.
What if you are on a keto diet? You are likely to experience sugar cravings until the transition from burning glucose to burning fatty acids is over. This metabolic process can take 1 to 4 weeks.
# 2 sugar addiction
Do you feel happy when you eat sweet? This is normal: the consumption of sugar activates the reward zone of the brain and releases dopamine, which provides a feeling of well-being and happiness.
In one rat study, animals even chose sugar over cocaine - even though they were already chemically addicted to the drug!
The simple act of tasting and eating carbohydrates and sugar has been shown to stimulate the release of:
- Dopamine, which promotes happiness, pleasure and feelings of euphoria.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can put you in a better mood.
Endorphins, which calm and relax your body for a natural "high" similar to the buzz you get when you exercise.
Now you understand why giving up sugary foods after years can make you feel terrible. This withdrawal period can cause symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, confusion, headaches, bad mood, nausea etc. Many of these symptoms combine with the "keto flu," which strikes many people when they first transition into ketosis.
Why our body craves sugar
# 1 Lack of protein or fat
If you want to follow an effective ketogenic diet, it's not enough to eat fewer carbs and avoid added sugars. You need to replace carbohydrates with adequate protein and fat. If you cut back on carbs and don't replace those calories with enough protein and fat, you're bound to have sugar cravings or cravings.
# 2 tough workouts
Working out is the key to losing weight, building strength, improving your mood, and living a healthy life. But it can also lead to sugar cravings if you don't fill up on protein and fat properly before and after exercise. Whey protein, for example, is an excellent fuel.
# 3 Dehydration
Three grams of water are stored with every gram of glycogen. So when your glycogen stores are depleted (a byproduct of ketosis), you will also lose stored water and become more vulnerable to dehydration. Your body's hunger and fullness hormones get out of balance when you are dehydrated: they trigger the feeling of hunger and the craving for sugar in an attempt to provide fluid to your body.
# 4 Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep can cause you to feel hungry and crave sugar because the hunger hormone (ghrelin) increases, while leptin (the satiety hormone) decreases.
But you don't have to give in to your craving for sugar to feel good! And you will feel better after quitting sugar!
6 ways to fight sugar cravings
# 1 do something positive
Take back control when a craving for sugar strikes.
Sugar cravings go away in less than an hour. So focus on a positive activity that brings you joy and promotes well-being, such as:
- Go for a walk that will boost dopamine and boost your energy levels. Research shows that a 15-minute walk also reduces the urge to eat sweet.
- Meditation, yoga, tai chi will reduce stress.
- Call a friend to help you decompress
# 2 improve your sleep hygiene
You should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Go to bed earlier, read a little, or clear your mind before sleeping if you have insomnia.
# 3 Calculate or adjust your daily macros
You got it: if you lack fat or protein when cutting back on carbs, you will crave sugar. Reaching your protein goals will help you lose weight and prevent drops in blood sugar by increasing satiety and limiting your appetite.
Don't forget about fiber, either. They reduce net carbs, help you feel full, stabilize blood sugar, and prevent constipation.
Use this macro calculator (in English) to determine your ideal macro profile.
# 4 Stay away from artificial sweeteners
Research shows that artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and others can:
- Raise your blood sugar (and promote blood sugar imbalances)
- Increase sugar cravings (as they taste much sweeter) and increase sugar addiction
- Lead to weight gain
- Cause digestive disturbances such as gas, bloating and diarrhea
# 5 find ketogenic alternatives
Prefer bars, nut butters, shakes, preparations specifically low in carbohydrates. You can also make your own keto snacks and desserts! Click here to discover all a range of ketogenic desserts and ketogenic savory preparations.
You can conquer your sugar cravings!
You have all the keys to resisting the craving for sugar. Once you enter ketosis, the cravings for sugar almost go away. Your body will finally like to consume fats and ketones.