Here’s something we would like you to confess – do you look forward to dinner every single day because you can have your favorite mithai or dessert at the end, particularly as a treat after a hard day’s work. That strong urge to have a dessert, a piece of chocolate, a scoop of ice cream, or a juicy gulab jamun is quite common, but the fact that all these sweet delights have too many empty calories can be a prove to be a nightmare for someone who is trying to lose weight and get healthy as well because these extra calories are converted into fat and stored within the adipose cells by the body. Sugar also tends to increase inflammation in the body and puts one at a risk of developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and even heart disease. So, we would like to stop blaming your sweet tooth behind intense cravings for sweets after dinner and find out the real reasons behind such an urge. Read on:
Why Sugary Treats Are Irresistible?
When sugar enters the body, it activates an area of the brain called “mesolimbic dopamine system” which is also known as the “reward center,” releasing feel-good neurotransmitters like opioids and dopamine, that in turn cause a sense of pleasure, motivating us to reach out for sugar to reclaim the feeling of pleasure. Experts say craving a sweet after a meal is majorly due to the motivation to activate brain’s pleasure center.
Reasons you Crave For Something “Meetha” after Dinner:
1. For a Quick Shot of Energy: Our body needs calories to perform even basic body functions like breathing and digesting food. Digestion and extraction of nutrients does require considerable energy and towards the end of the day, when you are running low on energy, simple carbs from sweets can give a quick energy boost. This is one of the major reasons you need something extra indulgent even after having a full meal at dinner.
2. Compensating For Under-Eating Through the Day: If you have deprived yourself of food in the name of dieting, you are most likely to binge eat at dinner, and also intense cravings for sweets would hit the hardest.
3. Dinner Was Mostly About Refined Carbs: Food with refined carbs spike up blood sugar and trigger the release of insulin which causes the blood sugar to drop suddenly. This wild fluctuation in blood sugar (the sharp rise and crash) will cause a need to replenish blood sugar, and the body looks out for sugary treats to bring back the blood sugar to normal level.
4. Not Eating Enough Nutrients: Complex carbs, protein, healthy fats, fiber promote satiety, keep appetite in check, and do not cause sharp rise in blood sugar, and also keep cravings for unhealthy food, especially sweets in check. If your daily diet is mostly about refined carbs and lacks these above-mentioned nutrients, it’s not a mystery that you are reaching out for something meetha after a meal.
5. You are Stressed: As we have mentioned above, sugar triggers the reward center of the brain, and under stressful situations, cortisol hormone is released which triggers sugar cravings, and sugar can calm jittery nerves almost instantly. A new study has revealed that sugar actually helps lower cortisol in the body, and acts as a stress buster. Instead of depending on sugar to beat the stress, find healthy ways to de-stress.
6. Sleep Deprivation: When you compromise on sleep, it affects mental as well as physical health. Lack of sleep increases hunger hormone “ghrelin,” and stress hormone “cortisol,” both of which increase sugar cravings. Maybe you should stop blaming will power, instead sleep for 7 hours straight to control sugar cravings.
7. It’s a Habit: It’s as simple as that. Maybe you have been conditioned since childhood to finish the dinner with a sweet delight, but it’s now a necessity to break that habit, especially when trying to lose weight. Chew on a sugar-free mint gum right after dinner to help cancel out the desire to have something sweet after dinner.
Tips to Control Sugar Cravings After Dinner:
1. Avoid Refined Carbs in Dinner.
2. Eat a balanced diet, with good portion of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. If you are desperately trying to lose weight, find healthy weight loss meal plans on the Rati Beauty Diet.3. Sipping on chamomile tea, peppermint tea, rooibos tea etc., after dinner can help curb sugar cravings.
4. Brushing teeth with a minty toothpaste right after dinner can curtail all kind of cravings, not just sugar.