Why We Crave Sweet Foods

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Millions of years of evolution have wired the brain to desire and consume sweet, high calorie carbohydrates, like fruits and tubers, because they are quick sources of energy, can be effectively stored as energy, and are high in nutrients.

When we eat sweet carbohydrates the brain's reward system gets activated and releases dopamine which signals the brain that this was a positive experience, further encouraging this behavior.

On top of this, high levels of stress and stress hormones further increase our desire for sweet carbohydrates.

When our hunter gatherer ancestors lived in nature and food was scarce or we were in a highly stressful situation, like being hunted or escaping a predator, this innate desire was beneficial for survival.

It drove us to consume enough nutrient dense food so that we would get enough nutrients, store enough energy to prevent starvation until the next meal, and have quick energy available for a highly stressful situation.

However, in modern times carbohydrates and sugar are readily available in unlimited quantities and unnatural forms and our brains are still driven by this primitive instinct for sweet and interpret it as a positive experience which can lead to overconsuming carbohydrates and body fat (stored energy) gain.

If you consume excessive amounts of sugar on a regular basis, your body's dopamine signals become weaker and you develop tolerance, so you have to eat more sugar to get the same level of reward, eventually resulting in sugar addiction.

According to The Sugar Association the average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugars per day.

This is a MAJOR reason, maybe the main reason, why almost 40% of people in the US are overweight.

One of the most effective solutions to this challenge is to set up your environment for success by keeping processed, refined carbohydrates and sugars out of the house and only consuming whole food based carbohydrates in moderation.

Then, if you do have them in the house at least keep them in an inconvenient place so it takes an extra effort to consume them and you stay conscious about your action of going for them.

Another important component is to make sure you are eating enough protein and fat because these two macronutrients signal the body's feeling of being full and carbohydrates do not.

Think about how easy it to consume a whole bag of chips or large amount of bread. 

Now imagine eating double the amount of whole eggs you typically eat or 2-3 avocados. Nauseating just thinking about it right? 😆

In fact you will be nauseous or vomit if you eat too much fat, because the hormone Cholecystokinin (CCK) that signals fullness will be overproduced.

Consuming enough non starchy vegetables is also important as they will provide your body with high levels of nutrients, especially if they are organic, which also decreases hunger and cravings.

This is a challenging conundrum to overcome when trying to create your best health and physical body but taking the proper action steps today will put you in position for success.


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