Sweet tooth cravings are not always a sweet surrender, it has got robust psychological findings and due to hormonal imbalance and secretion of hunger hormone, sweet tooth activates, but a streamlined diet plan and eating some optional nibbles can restrain cravings to a large extent, writes TAPAPRIYA LAHIRI
There may be umpteen scientific ways to curb down sweet tooth cravings, but, do we really think twice before gorging on cakes, pralines and many more sweet delicacies? We hardly ponder on scientific explanations, rather we take a gastronomic plunge. Sweet tooth by definition means ‘A fondness or craving for sweets.’ But, sweet tooth cravings do have a scientific explanation. ‘It’s when your stomach is empty, the blood levels starts to drop. This causes the body to secrete ghrelin, which is also known as ‘the hunger hormone’. During this phase, ghrelin tells hypothalamus in our brain that, there is a requirement for food. This makes our digestive system ready to receive food.’
When anxiety, stress and hypertension gropes in, we tend to fall for sweet tooth cravings and it always satiates a person physically and mentally. And it is considered as a biggest threat to get attracted towards the sweet tooth. Sweets are such a delectable gastronomic treat that makes one cheerful. But, it may become a deadly combination—to curb down stress and anxiety—one must be very careful while choosing sweet treats.
Ryan Fernando, Chief Nutritionist of Qua Nutrition, a Bengaluru based Nutrition Clinic says, “Apart from checking magnesium levels, one has to get the HBA1c levels checked as well. If a person feels that a blood sugar level gets unstable throughout the day, and unable to regulate it properly, it results in ‘Insulin Resistance’. It means, human cells don’t get glucose they need, when one eats something. And it initiates the cravings for carbohydrates—main source of energy in human body—and it starts craving for more sugar.”
Curb it right way
Human body and mind faces several hormonal and psychological changes at different phase of life. But, often we fail to understand that, how to control it. Ryan Fernando also adds, “It is often noticed that, preggy women has fair amount of sweet tooth indulgence and cravings to satisfy their phycological and physiological tussle due to hormonal imbalance. Now these cravings could occur if a woman is closer to menstrual cycle or under severe stress or hunger. For some people genes also plays an important role. There are specific genes that can tell one about the tendency for sweet craving. Cravings also occur when our magnesium levels drop down. But, there is always a solution to prevent it, and hence salted nuts can come to one’s rescue to prevent a dip in magnesium levels.”
Dr. Mary D’Cruz, Diabetologist, Shanti Wellness Care, a prominent diagnostic centre with state-of-the-art equipment in Kolkata says, “Some people are prone to over-eating and this leads to sweet tooth inclination. The more a person will eat sweets, they will have a continuous rush of insulin to bring down the sugar levels, which is known as ‘Yo-Yo phenomenon’—a roller-coaster ride that takes place inside the body unknowlingly—and their sweet tooth urge increases and here, only a psychiatrist can come to rescue by suggesting remedies to control the proneness of sweet tooth.”
When an overweight and obese person visits a gastroenterologist or diabetologist, they are immediately advised to stop eating excess foods. On this light Dr Bijay Patni, Shanti Wellness Care says, “I always advice my clients to eat small meals for six to eight times a day which contains 300-400 calories instead of having excessive and large portion of food at a time. And small portion of meals always helps in metabolic burning of energy and sweet cravings can be prevented. But, a shift in food habits needs a psychological counsellor to inspire them about a healthy lifestyle.”
Abha Mishra, a Market Research professional from Pune, says, “When I was pregnant, my sweet tooth cravings increased at a fast pace and it was uncontrollable. Especially after having dinner, everyday I had psychological ups and downs to have sweets or not. And that resulted to increased sugar levels. But, with a help of a psychological counsellor, I had overcome my sweet tooth cravings after giving birth.”
Similarly, Baishakhi Bhattacharya, a management professional from Kolkata believes, “Increased sweet tooth cravings have a strong reason to flourish, as most of us are confined within the office for long hours, and the only diversion is a sweet treat, which mostly tends to make people happy and it helps to gain energy to perform a task. But all work and no play are absolutely a bad idea to pursue and it leads to obesity. I believe in change in lifestyle and become pro-active, which can keep us away from sweets.”
Top tips to control sweet cravings:
- Get a blood test done and check for any indicators of a dip in your magnesium levels. If it dips down, do consult with a nutritionist before taking any supplements for the exact dosage.
- Carry salted nuts along with you. Consult a nutritionist as salted nuts are not advisable to patients with blood pressure. Also, make sure you do not over eat them as well.
- Get your HbA1c levels checked.
- If you are having a sweet tooth, take a small piece of the sweet, keep it in your mouth for a few minutes so as to let the taste linger for a long time in your mouth. This makes want to quit picking up the next piece beside you.
- Get your genetic test done. It is the best way to know what your body talks about. Make sure you get in touch with a nutrition expert to explain the report to you.
- Make a conscious effort to keep an eye what you are eating or putting in your plate and the quantity you are consuming. Keep a food diary or download and app that calculates the calories you consume.