Science Behind Sugar Cravings
8 min read

Science Behind Sugar Cravings

Diet & Nutrition Lifestyle Advice

My personal battle with sugar has been particularly ferocious in the past. It used to arise anytime. During an afternoon slump at work, first thing in the morning, after every meal, or, worst, just before sleeping. And in a sugar-laden world, it was always too easy for me to reach for a quick fix. Does that sound familiar? Read on to get behind the science of your sugar cravings.

Frequent Sugar Spikes = Cravings

Many sugar cravings stem from a blood sugar imbalance.

  • When your body ingests sugar or carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes and your body releases insulin to lower it to a safer level.
  • The higher the glycemic index of the food, the faster & higher the sugar spike you experience.
  • If the insulin brings your blood sugar level a bit too low, as often happens, you experience an energy crash. And your body craves foods that will raise it's sugar levels quickly! · You end up being on a blood sugar roller coaster, and it's hard to get off it.

Sugar Activates Brain’s Reward Centres

  • When we eat a food that contains sugar, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is released in the brain. This is one of the “happiness” chemicals — making us feel good.
  • And when we eat sugar frequently and in large amounts, our brain adapts and begins to require more sugar to get the same “feel good ” response. By the way, this same dopamine process happens with other addictive substances too such as some of the drugs.

What Sugar Cravings Tell About Your Health

I have always blamed my sugar cravings on my sweet tooth and my habits. Well at least in the past. But in many cases, sugar cravings is often a sign where the body is trying to tell about your health: “Your diet is lacking some key nutrients”. “Feed me these nutrients and stop feeding me junk”. When you crave anything sweet, your body might actually be telling you something about your diet, health or lifestyle. E.g.

Lacking Protein

You may be lacking key nutrients in your diet e.g. not eating enough protein. Because protein slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream, when you don’t consume enough of it your blood sugar can rise and fall at an abnormal rate. The result? Your body craves quick energy from sugar. That’s where Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein fits in perfectly. It provides the building blocks for muscle growth, recover & repair which our bodies need so desperately. Made with a unique pea protein formula it is 100% plant-based, minimally processed and it comes complete with all nine essential amino acids. And don’t worry this one actually tastes good and is also easy to digest! You will love it every day in your morning smoothie blended with nutritious seeds and fruits. Perfect breakfast on the go too!

Poor Sleep

Poor sleep can also trigger excess eating, including increased sugar consumption, as you seek energy to combat your fatigue. Research has shown that even one night of poor sleep can decrease the upper brain function of the cerebrum – the part of the brain responsible for complex judgments and decisions – resulting in next-day junk food cravings.

Junk Snacking

You may be wondering “so can I never have that sweet snack!!??”. Well, let’s face it. We all love to snack and so do I. I love my sweet snacks and they are very much a part of my healthy lifestyle. But it’s a mindful choice rather than a craving attack. In fact this is how Yoga Superfuel started with the superfood cookies! So that snacking can be healthy too. The cookies are packed with superfoods you will love minus the junk you don’t. We took out all the nasties including refined flours, sugars, preservatives and replaced them delicious superfoods that are naturally slow digesting. The cookies come in five flavours to help you snack guilt free: Cocoa Coconut, Ginger Granola, Turmeric Chai, Almond Buckwheat and Fig Amaranth. More energy without sacrificing taste and lesser lifestyle diseases like diabetes and inflammation caused by refined carbs and sugar!

Mineral Deficiency

An iron deficiency will zap your energy, leaving you feeling fatigued and weak, and it can also be a reason for your cravings because your body will crave quick energy to perk itself up. For many people, a sugar craving in the form of chocolate could signal a lack of magnesium, a common deficiency according to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.


A lack of fluids can make it difficult for organs like liver to release glycogen (stored glucose) and other components of your energy stores, hence, it can actually trigger sugar cravings. When you aren’t properly hydrated, you can erroneously be craving sugar when you might just be thirsty.

Potential Insulin Problem

In more severe cases, you might even have an insulin sensitivity issue. As more dietary sugar is consumed, insulin becomes less effective. Even skinny people can become addicted and have insulin problem. Continuing on the path of over consuming these foods will set you up for many diseases including diabetes and heart disease. So best to consult your doctor.

In A Nutshell….

Sugar cravings are key signals your body is trying to give you. Signals about your health and diet. So next time you reach for a dessert after breakfast or a cookie during afternoon slump, stop to consider your diet in the last few meals.

Disclaimer: The information provided on Nuzest is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please speak to your qualified healthcare professional in the event that something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

Article contributed by


Personal Trainer, Founder Yoga Superfuel
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