Why do I Crave Sweet Things First Thing in the Morning?

A reader asked the following question:

Q. What do my Sweet Cravings First Thing in the Morning Mean?

A. One of the main reasons this can occur is because of imbalanced blood sugar levels. Eating sugary foods and simple carbohydrates can cause a quick peak in blood sugar levels, followed by a dramatic fall.  This has a negative impact on insulin. Insulin is a hormone which is responsible for keeping blood sugar levels within the normal range, and it functions to open channels on cell membranes, which allows glucose to travel from the bloodstream into the body’s cells. After a night’s sleep, and an extended period without sugar, blood sugar levels will have dropped, which may cause feelings of lethargy and tiredness, as well as cravings for additional sugary foods. This in turn causes blood sugar levels to go back up rapidly and subsequently cause a quick burst of energy followed by a trough. And so the cycle continues…

In addition to this, stress may also have an impact. During periods of stress, the body prepares itself by ensuring that enough sugar or energy is easily accessible. This is followed by insulin levels falling, glucagon and epinephrine (adrenaline) levels rising and more glucose being released from the liver. In addition to this, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which in turn causes body tissues (muscle and fat) to be less sensitive to insulin. This in turn results in more glucose being readily available in the blood stream.

Starting the day off right with protein rich foods such as eggs, nuts and seeds may help to keep blood sugar levels more balanced, as instead of a sudden blood sugar rush, energy is released more slowly. This could be apple and cinnamon porridge with almonds and pumpkin seeds, a berry smoothie with protein powder, or poached egg with avocado.  In terms of stress, B vitamins, particularly B5, as well as Vitamin C, may be useful as they may help to normalise adrenal function. Additionally, adopting lifestyle changes that may help with stress management, such as exercise, relaxation techniques and mindfulness, may also have a positive impact.


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