4 Reasons For A Sweet Tooth

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As long as I can remember I’ve heard “I’ve gotta sweet tooth.” To be a little more scientific about it, lets look at some real reasons your brain and/or your body might be craving something sweet.

Here are a few possible reasons:

1. You aren’t getting enough protein. The best source for our energy is protein. If your body doesn’t get enough throughout the day, it starts to lose energy. Your brain sends out panic signals: I need energy now!!! Nothing gives your body a boost of quick energy like sugar so your smart body tries to fix your energy problem as quickly as it can … with sugar. You might be reaching for a candy bar in the afternoon because you aren’t eating enough protein at breakfast or lunch.

EXPERIMENT: Make it a point to eat enough protein – and then notice how it affects your sweet tooth.

2. Sugar can act like a drug at times, a fantastically effective dopamine enhancer that works along the same lines as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. A diet loaded with sugar generates excessive reward signals in the brain, and over time, these pleasurable brain chemicals can override your willpower and create an “addiction”. Sugar feels so fantastic to your brain that it usurps your willpower in order to get its next fix.

Take small steps in reducing your sugar intake, and reward yourself with something other than dessert for each small victory.

3. You’ve used up your willpower for the day. You’ve been “good” and practiced restraint all day – so when a neighbor brings over a package of gourmet cookies after work, you devour them. Willpower is a finite resource. You can’t follow the rules exactly every minute of your life, so at the end of the day when you’re tired and your willpower is too – you reach for cookies.

Reward yourself in a non-edible way. Have a few fun things ready and handy.

4. Sweets remind you of happy times. As children many of us were given sweet treats when we behaved well or when times were happy (like holidays). We learned to associate the taste of sugar with happy feelings, and as adults, we try to recreate those positive childhood memories and feelings. While everyone deserves to indulge now and then, emotional eating rarely brings the satisfaction you crave – and often it just makes you eat even more as you search for those happy feelings.

One strategy might be to gift yourself with one delicious treat each week. Slow down and enjoy every minute of it. You’re getting your favorite treats, you’re not denying yourself, and, you are in charge of how it happens.

Which of these reasons & strategies resonate with you?