The scene is repeated daily: towards the middle of the afternoon, you get an uncontrollable urge to eat a sweet. And if it’s not in the afternoon, then you can’t help but go to the fridge or pantry to see what’s right before bed. But the problem is not so much that you want to eat something, but rather that what causes you to eat is not exactly the healthiest thing for your body: a cupcake, a piece of chocolate, a little ice cream. And it is there where the origin of the problem is: you are satisfying a craving, but you are not feeding.
Main foods that trigger anxiety
Anxiety about eating sweets occurs because, at certain times of the day (especially among those who eat three times a day), the body experiences a drop in blood sugar levels. This state, known as hypoglycemia, causes the brain to send a signal that tells the body that it needs to replace glucose, which causes the urge to eat urgently. The reason why instead of leaning towards eating a jar of broccoli we want to eat sugary foods is that sugar is the most easily digested food and what gives the necessary glucose to the brain immediately.
Another reason that will answer your question about why you have the anxiety to eat sweets has to do with stress. When we are stressed, cortisol is produced, which is the hormone that prepares us to react to dangerous situations. And that demand for energy causes the body to require more glucose to continue working, hence when we are in demanding situations it causes us to binge on sweets.
What happens when we eat sweets
Once the need to eat sugar has been satisfied, the brain generates endorphins that give a feeling of happiness and hyperactivity. But this effect lasts for a very short time because refined sugar foods generally contain simple, fast-digesting carbohydrates.
So hyperglycemia is generated, caused by excess sugar in the bloodstream, and the way the body tries to balance this is by generating insulin. This process accelerates the consumption of sugar in the blood, causing hypoglycemia and returning to the starting point.
Consuming sugar frequently and excessively leads to greater insulin production, but over time, insulin becomes more inefficient to counteract the effects of sweet foods on the body. This can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to bigger problems like diabetes and obesity.
Tricks to control the anxiety of sweets
There are ways to learn how to control the anxiety of eating sweets. One of them has to do with the frequency of our meals: if we eat 5 times a day, making three main meals and two snacks, we will stay satisfied and avoid those hunger crises that make us eat unhealthy things. Snacks can be fresh fruits or nuts, alone or combined with Greek or traditional yogurt, but without sugar.
If your anxiety is triggered by stressful situations, find spaces throughout the day to clear your mind. You can practice yoga, walk for half an hour, sign up for a class in a sport or hobby that catches your attention, or meditate. The important thing is to find moments to keep your mind calm and recharge with energy to continue the day without having to binge.
Another way to control anxiety about eating sweets is by scheduling your purchases. This will help you to select more conscientiously what you are going to put in your pantry and refrigerator, very different from when you have to buy the first thing that comes to mind for lack of organization or excess hunger.
Remove junk food, foods high in saturated fat (such as potato chips), processed foods and treats, and, of course, refined sugar, from the shopping list. Adequate hydration allows your body to fulfill its vital functions efficiently. In addition, it generates a feeling of satiety. About two liters of water a day is sufficient. If you have difficulty drinking water, soups, juices (fresh fruit and without sugar) and natural teas or infusions also count.
On the other hand, a restful rest will help us recover our energies and face the challenges of everyday life with better disposition and mental clarity. And that will be reflected in the decisions we make. Choosing to binge during a moment of stress is not the same as having the conscience and self-control to decide what is good for us and control the anxiety of eating sweets.
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