Why you crave sweet things immediately after eating a meal
Craving sugar immediately after having a meal is a very normal response to digestion.
If you find yourself heading to the sweetie drawer after every meal or if your meal just doesn’t quite feel complete without a sweet ending, you’re not alone! Craving something sweet after eating a meal is far more common and natural than you might think.
After eating a meal, the body focuses on digestion, which takes up a large amount of energy. This causes us to crave an immediate energy spike, and with sugar being a great source of “quick” energy, craving a sugary treat after a meal becomes a conditioned response to compensate for the energy being exerted on digestion.
The metabolisation of sugar activates specific reward centres of our brain by releasing certain feel-good hormones, which in turn gives us pleasure by lowering serotonin levels, resulting in our brains being conditioned to repeat this pleasant habit due to the release of these feel-good hormones. This conditional response then gets reinforced every time we act on these sugar cravings, thereby reinforcing the habit.
Sugar cravings are by no means bad and are, in fact, completely normal! They are usually short-lived and fluctuate throughout the day, so if you do wish to reduce sugar cravings after meals, simply indulge your sweet tooth in moderation only, and follow these tips:
- Due to the short life span, distraction works a treat when trying to reduce sugar cravings. Never underestimate the power of a walk, a book or even just some water when those cravings hit!
- Make sure you are getting enough rest, eating enough food at mealtimes and following a balanced and nutritious diet, and avoid eating too fast.
- Be mindful of yourself and your emotions and make sure you aren’t eating sugary sweets for emotional reasons.
- Always remember to be kind to yourself and your body – sugar isn’t always as bad as diet culture would want you to believe! Everything is best enjoyed in moderation.