Sugar Craving Meaning

Have you ever wondered why you crave sweets and sugar? Have you ever wondered what sugar cravings mean at a deeper level? I know first hand how incredibly frustrating sugar cravings can be.  But please know it is possible to break the vicious cycle.  By the end of this blog, you will understand some of the deeper causes of sugar cravings (psychological, biological, and physiological), as well as have practical strategies to reduce cravings.

Psychological Reasons for Sugar Cravings

Let’s look into the psychological causes of cravings.  Some of us crave sugar and sweet food because we label certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  We create restrictions in our minds.  And these restrictions go against our innate human psychology of wanting what we can’t have.

Work With Human Psychology To Reduce Sugar Cravings

With this in mind, I suggest to my clients (which can seem scary), to introduce one small piece of chocolate (or the forbidden food) every day.  And the trick is to take it out of a wrapper, break it into little pieces, and place it in a neutral container. Keep the big container somewhere away from your eyesight to reduce visual trigger (Visual Trigger is one of the sensory triggers for binge eating). 

Choose when in the day you would like to enjoy this piece of chocolate. Every day you remove one piece for the day and keep it until the time of the day you decided you will have that piece. Repeat this for at least 7 days. I suggest to eat it, whether you want it or not – you eat it!. Do you see what I am doing here? It’s reverse psychology.

Neutralise The Emotional Charge

Psychologically, when something is available and abundant our brain responds with ‘I don’t even want it’. Thus, we can relax and food becomes ‘just food’.  Things should shift within a week. For some, this can even reduce sugar cravings instantly. I also recommend changing from milk chocolate, to darker chocolate to reduce your chocolate cravings (you can transition slowly). The combination of fat and sugar in milk chocolate will want you to have more while dark chocolate is naturally stronger is flavour and contains less sugar.

Emotional Causes Of Sugar Cravings

Do you eat when you feel stressed? Angry? Bored? Lonely? Anxious? This is very common.  Essentially we are feeding our emotions rather than our physical hunger. But unfortunately, it does not help the problem. It actually makes everything worse because we have the original problem PLUS the guilt and shame. As a result, I have a three-step process to overcome emotional eating.  Read on…

Step 1: First, give yourself 10 minutes.  This will give you time to go through the reconnection process (see Step2).

Step 2: Next, check-in with yourself to see if you are physically hungry or if it’s emotional hunger.  Ask yourself, ‘What are my needs?’, ‘What do I wish?’, ‘What do I feel?’.  Ultimately, you are providing yourself space to connect with your hunger cues but also emotions so you understand your needs (to fulfill them with something other than food!). 

Step 3: Thirdly, if its emotional hunger, ask yourself what would be the best alternatives to soothe, to make yourself comfortable and loved?

Practical Alternatives To Emotional Eating:

  • Lonely?– play with a pet, reach out to a friend.  Or if you are alone have a look at old photos of beautiful memories from the past.  This will give you the feeling of connection.
  • Anxious? Expel your nervous energy by dancing, squeezing a stress ball, or take a brisk walk.
  • Exhausted? Have a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
  • Bored?  Ask yourself ‘What have you always wanted to do?’ Read a good book, watch a comedy show, go to a dance or yoga classes.  Reframe the boredom into an opportunity of ‘What do I get to do’?

Self-Care To Reduce Sugar Cravings

Ultimately it is critical to address the core of the issue to reduce sugar cravings.  Journaling can be powerful as a means to self-inquiry.  For example, journaling allows us to tap into feelings and needs.  If this is not for you, then I suggest working with someone like a coach or therapist.  I address the specifics of managing emotions in my SOLVE THE OVEREATING ONLINE PROGRAM where I give more ideas and practical workbooks (to eliminate the guilt and tap into your true nature).

Physiological Reasons For Sugar Cravings

Physiological cravings happen in our body.  This is affected by what, when, and how much we eat.  I go into much more detail in my Balanced Diet Framework: Online Self Study Program.  Here are some strategies for dealing with physiological cravings:


  • Eat Balanced Meals

Ensure you include all food groups (protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, vegetables, and fruits).  Introducing a myriad of food groups will ensure you get adequate nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Quite often when our body sends a signal that it wants food, we misinterpret it as ‘I just need sugar and a quick fix’, because our body can’t tell us, ‘Hey I really want that broccoli, I need nutrients’.  Eating balanced meals (specifically protein and a little bit of fat in every meal) will also stabilse your blood sugar levels causing fewer sugar cravings.

  • Eat Wholesome Food

Ensure you eat wholesome food.  For example foods in their whole form, (such as vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, quinoa) as these foods do not have additives that are designed to get you craving MORE of that food. (The additives and flavourings in food such as crisps, burgers and other highly processed foods are used deliberately to keep us addicted!)

  • Eat Regular Meals

By regular, I recommend every 3-4 hours.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry because when we get overly hungry our body wants that quick fix of energy and will crave more sugar! 

  • Sugar Cravings At Night

For night time cravings go back to these tips to regularly eat wholesome with adequate fats and protein to stabilise blood sugar.

  • Afternoon Cravings?

Similarly, if you crave sugar in the afternoon, check your lunch did not have too many simple carbohydrates or there was not too much sugar at breakfast.  If the craving still persists, add protein snacks (Apple slices with peanut butter, hummus, or a boiled egg). Or if it’s not hunger in the body you might just need a break.  Sometimes, wanting to eat can be a sign of procrastination because we are avoiding a task or we are tired and need a 10 minutes break to move and breathe fresh air.


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