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TOPIC: Savory... Then Sweet, Then Salty, Then Sweet Then -- GAH!

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October 22, 2010 1:39 PM
Hey all, wow its been a long time, I used to live on the MFP boards!

So I have a problem, I've learned to curb it but I'm interested in the whys more than the how to fix. When I eat a meal, it is generally predominantly savory. I am insulin resistant so I follow a low-carb/sugar plan that works for me, so its a lot of protein and veggies.

After any meal, I crave something sweet. Not just 'want' CRAVE. Like, my body wants it, not my brain. If I have something sweet though, I immediately crave something salty. Then sweet, then salty, then sweet, then... well, you get the picture.

This used to lead to overeating until I discovered my secret weapon - trader joes semi sweet chocolate chips. I can have even one chip and it curbs the need without making me crave salty. However, why does this happen? I don't want to eat any more, I'm full, I'm ready to stop. Its like a chemical problem. Thoughts? ohwell
October 22, 2010 1:45 PM
SAme thing happens to me!!
October 22, 2010 1:48 PM
I get the same thing! I would be interested in knowing why as well.
October 22, 2010 2:17 PM
for me, ALWAYS in the evenings.
October 22, 2010 3:07 PM
I know that I have heard that eating something sweet tells your brain that you are finished your meal. Its some sort of a signal to your brain that you are done eating. I do not know if this is biologically based (although I seem to remember hearing that it may be) or if it is a learned behavor from a life time of eating sweets. But it does seem that a number of different cultures have traditionally had desserts after a meal, although not always the way that we think of them. My husbands family claims it is tradition in Italy to eat fruit when you are finished dinner which I love.

All this to say, I figure if it is hardwired in me, I am not going to fight it!! Although I usually only allow myself something small or a piece of gum!
October 22, 2010 8:32 PM
I have a bag of semi sweet chips in the freezer for "those days". I allow myself a max of 10. I savor them one at a time slowly.
October 23, 2010 12:19 AM
I have always blamed this on the fact that growing up dinner was always followed with something sweet, popsicles, icecream, jello, canned fruit cocktail, cookies you name it there it was. I grew up in the 70's, the era of hungry man meals and even those always had the little brownie that baked while the meal was heating.....oh when I think of the crap that was considered healthy back then. Luckily my mom remarried a man who loved to cook so I got turned onto good healthy foods in my late grade school days but even then, they were both ballet dancers and they loved to have a scoop of ice cream after dinner..........and on a good night banana splits laugh Other than being trained to want sweets after dinner I cant give any reasonable scientific or well, good answer. wink
October 23, 2010 12:30 AM
Ok, did some quick reading........Just going to copy and paste since I am no good at putting links up. I can say that a "western" diet is high in salt and sugar as those are two main ingredients for processed foods (that's how they can stay on the shelf, cans or jars for so long) Sometimes the only way to break the habit is to go cold turkey because our bodies become addicted to the sugar salt cycle but read the rest.

Many people suffer cravings for sweets. The causes of these cravings can vary widely but chief among them are hormonal imbalances especially in insulin and serotonin, unhealthy dieting, Adrenal Fatigue, various eating disorders from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder group of symptoms, and even in premenstrual syndrome (National Institute of Health). To fully combat the root cause for your sugar cravings you will need to consult at least one doctor, and specific steps for stopping or decreasing cravings depend on an accurate diagnosis. That said many agree that some basic steps are effective for all the various causes of sugar cravings.

1. Increase your protein intake. Often our bodies will exhibit cravings for sweets when what they really need is more protein. This isn't true for everyone, so if having a ham sandwich or a steak doesn't improve your cravings please consider the recommendations below.

2. Remove temptations. Go through your refrigerator and food pantry. Get rid of the cakes, ice cream, cookies, etc. When you go food shopping, make a conscious effort not to buy sweets. A good habit to get into is to take a walk instead of eating dessert. If, after 10 minutes, you still want sweets, gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash or brush your teeth. The aftertaste doesn't mix well with sweets and you'll probably lose your craving quickly. Or for a more dramatic altering of the taste sense, try getting Gymnema Sylvestre leaves and chewing a pinch of them thoroughly. In the following hour or two anything that is unsweetened will taste better than anything containing sugar.

3. Replace sweets and sugar with fruits. The sugars in fruits are digested differently than the empty calories of white sugar that are in most candy and processed foods. The fiber in fruit also slows the absorption of the sugars so you don't get as high a sugar rush (and as low a crash).

4 Go for quality, not quantity. Eat a small piece of 70% dark chocolate instead of a candy bar. Have a small scoop of gourmet ice cream instead of an entire bowl of light ice cream. The treat will be more satisfying and you'll be consuming less sugar in the long run. (side note, research was done and found that when you are craving items that are high in ice cream, you are less likely to over eat the real stuff than the diet or lite versions because it's not necessarily the ice cream it's the fat youre craving.)

5. Read labels. You might be surprised to learn how much sugar there is in a lot of the foods that you eat. Being aware of sugar content can help you avoid high-sugar foods and kick the addiction.

6. Improve your diet overall. There are several ways to do this, but the following may to help with sugar cravings in particular:
Eat more protein and fat, both of which make you feel full and satisfied.Have small, frequent meals to help keep your blood sugar level stable and eliminate your body's need for a quick sugar fix.
Avoid skipping meals (especially breakfast) - or, alternatively, try intermittent fasting (going without food for 16-36 hours regularly).
Take a daily multivitamin. Some nutrients help keep blood sugar stable, so ensure you get those by supplementing your diet appropriately.

7. Combat hypoglycemia, or low-blood sugar by trying the following:
Eat a breakfast that is NOT sweet, for example brown rice, or lean protein and blanched vegetables.
Have no sweets (that includes fruit, refined flour, and all sweeteners) until after 3:00 pm. After that eat either fruit or a fruit or grain-sweetened dessert rather than sweets that contained refined sugars. Eating sweets in the morning or early afternoon tend to stimulate sweet cravings throughout the day. You might feel sick from eating sugars in the early morning
If you have the sugar blues in the morning around 10-10:30 and again in the afternoon around 2-4:00, drink 1 cup of sweet vegetable drink (see tips for recipe).
Avoid artificial sweeteners. Research has shown that artificial sweeteners cause intense cravings for sweets.

Some women tend to get sweet cravings the week before or week of their menstruation. If you know you have powerful cravings during a certain time of the month, prepare yourself by keeping sweets out of the house and having healthy snacks available. If the cravings are for chocolate in particular, make sure you're getting enough iron and magnesium in your diet or supplements: in some women, low levels appear to stimulate chocolate cravings.

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