Estimated reading time: 27 minute(s)
Why am I craving food so much?
Food Cravings and Hunger
Are you someone for whom constantly craving food has become the norm?
Do your junk food cravings and the desire for high-calorie foods impact your ability to lose weight, focus and mental health?
Have you been trying everything to stop food cravings by dieting, trying healthy alternatives, counting calories, chewing gum, artificial sweeteners, over the counter medications, or supplements but can’t work out why you can’t stop choosing unhealthy foods?
The answer to this question is simple: it’s what you’re putting into your body that creates blood sugar cravings.
If you’re constantly eating carb rich foods throughout the day and are choosing junk food or fried foods you will constantly continue to crave unhealthy food.
In our busy lives, it can be very easy to link consuming sugar and chocolate cravings to a host of common factors such as stressful day, mental health issues, hormones and the everyday pressures of work or home life.
And whilst it’s true that these things can hold an influence over how we feel within ourselves, the presence of constant sugar cravings may in fact be a clue or symptoms of poor metabolic health.
If you experience food cravings, this indicates an underlying imbalance within your main metabolic pathways – The delivery of energy into the cells.
Consuming too many sweet foods that are rich in glucose creates an imbalance in your blood sugar levels due to your cells becoming resistant to the regular presence of insulin.
When we eat food, the release of insulin prevents blood sugar spikes and encourages blood sugar levels to lower but if we consume too many processed foods it becomes difficult for our blood sugar levels to remain at an acceptable level. This is when we experience food cravings.
What do my food cravings mean?
With that in mind, if you have been struggling with food cravings for over two or more years with the use of yo-yo dieting, counting calories, sins or points, over-the-counter medication or supplements, then your metabolic pathways are likely struggling to utilise the energy and absorb the nutrients from the food you eat and dispose of toxins properly.
I’m Jen Adams, a functional personal nutritional therapist and my purpose is to teach those who want to learn how to improve their metabolic health for energy, vitality, and future wealth to better understand how their food and lifestyle choices affect every part of their life.
In this series of articles about the symptoms of poor metabolic health, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the importance of how you feel and what you can see when you look in the mirror as contributory factors to your metabolic health.
Identifying your everyday symptoms are clues to various underlying systemic imbalances will help you to enhance your future metabolic health and prevent the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune diseases, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.
If you only treat these symptoms with dieting or medicine alone for more than two years, without any nutritional lifestyle intervention, your metabolic pathways will begin to fail, and your symptoms may develop into systemic imbalance in your metabolic health.
Your metabolic health is incredibly important and fundamentally everyday symptoms related to an imbalance or malfunction relating to either one of in part all three of functional metabolic pathways: Delivery of energy to your cells, detoxification of toxins and absorption of raw ingredients.
What is the cause of sugar cravings?
One of the main causes of your food cravings is your previous poor food choices and loss of blood sugar control, not because you have got a sweet tooth.
As a result, you may begin to suffer from either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, which are conditions related to blood sugar imbalances and the persistence of undesirable symptoms such as poor concentration, dizziness, confusion, insulin sensitivity, and blood sugar highs.
Leptin is a hormone secreted from fat cells that helps to regulate body weight. The name leptin is derived from the Greek word ‘leptos’ meaning thin. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Fat Controller’.
Leptin’s main function is to help regulate the long-term balance between your body’s food intake and energy use (expenditure).
Leptin helps inhibit (prevent) hunger and regulate energy balance so that your body doesn’t trigger a hunger response when it doesn’t need more energy (calories).
Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced and released mainly by the stomach with small amounts also released by the small intestine, pancreas and brain.
I always think of ghrelin hormones as gremlins in my tummy making it rumble to fool me into thinking I have a sweet craving.
Ghrelin has numerous functions. It is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage.
Leptin, which is composed of fat cells, is said to decrease appetite and help you to lose weight, whilst ghrelin does the opposite.
Unfortunately, these hormones’ role in letting us know when we’re full can become compromised if we are following an unhealthy diet or counting calories.
Research suggests that levels of leptin are higher in people who are overweight or obese, with these individuals often found to be more resistant to leptin’s intended appetite-regulating effects.
The best thing you can do to influence the behaviour of your leptin hormones is to steer clear of junk food, fried foods and high sugar.
If you ignore this advice, your body will find it difficult to understand when it’s full, leading to a roller coaster ride of fat storage, constant hunger and food cravings.
Food cravings and hunger pangs are not just due to emotions or lack of willpower but a sign that something else is going on with your ability to balance the production of these hormones.
By being aware of the consequences of poor blood sugar balance and making better food choices, you can take back control of your metabolic health, and say goodbye to those pesky food cravings and hunger pangs.
What are the consequences of constantly having food cravings?
Constant food cravings can interfere with our ability to balance blood sugar control as a consequence not only will this make you feel tired and lethargic, but can also lead to other health problems in the long run such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or heart disease.
By either not eating enough healthy foods or consuming more calories than you need you will lack the essential nutrients your body needs and it will struggle to function due to insufficient delivery of the energy from your food into your cells.
If you’re struggling with food cravings on a regular basis, it’s important to take a step back and assess your current diet and make healthy lifestyle choices.
Problems, when you crave sugar, will lead to constant low energy levels, fatigue and mineral deficiencies that can lead to more serious health conditions and will have a draining effect on both your physical and mental health.
It’s essential to get healthcare professional advice to get to the root of your food cravings. As you may find that you have magnesium deficiency or a lack of beneficial bacteria which is essential when looking to reduce cravings.
In summary, when suffering from constant food cravings and hunger then this is a key inductor you have lost control of your blood sugars.
Your appetite is being regulated by two hormones that will drive you to consume more and more of the food that creates the sugars cravings.
Leptin and Ghrelin hormones are responsible for making you feel full or hungry.
If you have a diet rich in processed foods, your body will create more of these hungry hormones and you’ll experience constant cravings for sweet foods and struggle to manage a healthy weight.
In conclusion, the best way to reduce your food cravings is to focus on balancing your blood sugars, cleansing your liver and improving your gut microbiome. This will enable you to help regulate your insulin sensitivity, deliver energy to your cells, detoxify toxins that disrupt your metabolism and create beneficial bacteria to reduce inflammation, improving your overall metabolic health.
Your food cravings are related to what you ate yesterday NOT what you want today. Breaking the vicious cycle is easy to do by changing what you eat next, reducing the production of hunger hormones – learn more about basic nutrition facts
What’s next? What is your metabolic health age – use the online Metabolic Age Calculator and answer a few simple health and lifestyle questions. It takes a few minutes, but it could help you change your sugar cravings forever.
If your Metabolic Health Age is equivalent to or lower than your actual age, then that is great news!
This means your blood sugar levels, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference are potentially all within an ideal range.
However if your Metabolic Health Age is more than 10 years of your actual age, and you are struggling with cravings you could be prone to some or all of these conditions as these are all markers that directly relate to your risk of insulin resistance, fatty liver, dysbiosis, high cholesterol and blood pressure.
This article is part of my WHY series to help you to identify the symptoms of poor metabolic health. Do you often ask yourself any of these…