Updated: Jan 3
Do you ever find yourself craving chocolate and rather than eating just a few squares, you consume the entire block?
What about after dinner? Do you find that even though you feel full after eating you still need something sweet?
Perhaps you find yourself binge eating, even when you’re full and find it hard to stop?
You're most certainly not alone!
Often I hear clients say they have a sweet tooth, they can’t control themselves or once they start they can’t stop.
It causes them to believe that they have no self-control or will power and there is nothing they can do about it.
But what if it that sweet tooth was not as a result of not having enough self-control, but was instead a nutrient deficiency?
I know right! Who would have thought?
There are key nutrients the body requires to function optimally and deficiency of these nutrients could be causing:
binge eating; and the
feeling like you’re unable to stop.
The good news is this is something that can be remedied by increasing your intake of certain foods or with supplementation.
Want to know what they are? Then lets get straight into it
The first nutrient is Tryptophan which is an essential amino acid (building block for proteins) and it can suppress sweet cravings and appetite amongst many other things. It works to regulate appetite and those sugar cravings so they are less intense. Tryptophan is also used for insomnia, migraine headaches, depression, PMS, anxiety and more.
Foods high in Tryptophan include: bananas, beef, beans, dairy products, cottage cheese, fish, legumes & lentils, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and soybeans.
It’s important to note that Tryptophan may not be recommended for individuals taking certain medications, it can aggravate aggressive behaviour and those with adrenal insufficiency should avoid taking this supplement.
The next nutrient is Chromium is a trace mineral and regulates lipid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism, as well as keeps a balanced check on insulin sensitivity. Excess intake of refined foods and sugars can increase chromium demands. This nutrient is helpful if you struggle with binge eating and sweet cravings as it assists in the uptake of glucose into cells.
Chromium imbalance can cause fluctuation in blood sugar levels which can produce the urge to consume sweets and sugars. Ultimately, you end up consuming more sugars than you need to satisfy the cravings. What’s also surprisingly is when you eat sweet foods, your body releases insulin and this is further increases the urge to eat more sweet food.
Foods high in chromium include: asparagus, apples, cheese, egg yolk, grape juice, liver, mushrooms, nuts, oysters, potato, prunes, raisins and yeast.
If you are craving chocolate close to your cycle or something sweet after dinner even when you are full it’s likely due to the body craving magnesium, not sugar.
Magnesium is a mineral and is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA. Our soils are typically low in this nutrient so a supplement is often needed.
Foods high in magnesium include: almonds, cashews, cocoa, eggs, figs, leafy greens, legumes, parsnips, seeds, soy beans and wholegrain cereals.
If you suspect you have a nutrient deficiency which may be causing sugar cravings or binge eating start by increasing your intake of foods highest in those nutrients, supplementation may also be an option for you and/or booking in for a nutrition consult to have a Personalised Diet and Lifestyle Plan put together which takes many other factors into consideration (i.e. medical history, current diet and habits) as no two people are the same.
If you'd like to book a nutrition consult visit: https://www.louiseellennutrition.com.au/nutrition-services.
I hope this article has been helpful in identifying that those sweet cravings and binge eating behaviours may in fact be due to a nutrient deficiency and by increasing your intake of those particular nutrients may help in reducing the effects.
Psst... When you're ready, here are some ways I can help you improve your eating habits and lose those extra kilos, without dieting:
1. Get started with the Weight Loss without Dieting Starter Kit. Create a Personalised Plan tailored to your dietary needs and lifestyle habits and have a simple 5 step system to help with being consistent long term. Click here to find out more
2. If you struggle finding healthy and tasty recipes and lack the time to work out what to eat each day then check out the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Kit. Get started with a 14-Day Meal Plan with shopping list and easy tasty recipes plus a meal planning system that takes just 20 minutes a week. Click here to find out more