Have you ever doubted your willpower around food and sweets in general, wondering how to stop sugar cravings?
Have you ever thought “why can’t I stop giving in to sugar cravings?” Well, the good news is you aren’t alone, and there are scientific reasons you give in to those sweet, sugary, cravings.
In fact, there are three reasons for sugar cravings.
As humans, we have three parallel pathways that the body has to recognize and seek sweet taste. These three pathways are based on increasing the Dopamine levels in the brain.
Dopamine is the “happy, feel good” hormone that our brain seeks out.
The brain rewards behaviors that trigger the release of it.
In other words, if we do something that makes us ‘feel good’, dopamine will reward our brain by sending a signal that says “that feels great”, and we will want to repeat the behavior. Dopamine triggers a feel good response in the brain the downside of dopamine is that the brain’s desire for a “dopamine hit” can lead to addictive behavior, whether it’s sugar, sex, gambling, drugs, or anything that reinforces the seeking of dopamine.
The Dopamine and Sugar Connection
As previously mentioned, there are three separate and parallel pathways where sugar triggers a dopamine release and reinforces the seeking of sugar or glucose.
Most drugs, or other dopamine-releasing behavior, only has one pathway; this is why sugar addiction is so strong and difficult to overcome.
The dopamine pathways have a “pleasure-pain balance,” according to Dr. Anna Lembke. Because of this phenomenon, as you are eating something sweet and satisfying, and the dopamine levels increase, and when that experience comes to an end, the “pain, frustration or lack” response is triggered, making you want even more.
For instance, as you are enjoying a piece of chocolate and you are swallowing it, your neuro pathways start instantly craving more, because dopamine levels are being pushed back down.
As a result, most people will reach for another piece of chocolate, and the dopamine “hit” is never as high as the fist one, so you are constantly striving to experience that first level of dopamine “hit.”
Furthermore, the longer you wait to indulge in that experience again, the greater the level of dopamine you will experience once again.
This is why if someone cuts out sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, or anything that triggers a dopamine response, it resets their enjoyment of that item back to near their original level.
As a result, you are in a very wobbly and precarious state of balancing the pleasure and pain see-saw.
The Three Parallel, Dopamine Seeking Sugar Pathways
Pathway One: Taste of Sweet
Pathway One is related to the actual taste and the perception of taste that leads you to seek more sweet-containing foods. In other words, the sweet taste (the things we crave) trigger changes in our neural circuitry to crave more of that thing or to seek out something else to fill that craving.
Sugar and sweet taste, including non-caloric sweeteners, have an incredible ability to release dopamine. This is especially true when you are ingesting sweet liquids due to the quick and concentrated delivery of the sweetness without fiber or act of chewing to blunt the rise in dopamine.
The connection is so powerful that our brains become extremely focused on getting more of the “sweet” source. As soon as you put something sweet in your mouth, your neurons in and around your mouth are registering the sweet taste and seek more of it.
Pathway Two: Post-Ingestive Dopamine
In addition to our “perception” of sweets and their effect on our dopamine, there is pathway two, the “post-ingestive” reinforcing properties of sugar.
This occurs in the gut where our body is registering foods that increase blood glucose and occurs approximately 15 minutes after eating sweet food.
The neurons in our gut register when we eat glucose or anything that will raise blood sugar, and it sends signals to the brain through the vagus nerve to the nodose ganglion to the nucleus of the solitary tract, and they also trigger activation of dopamine pathways within the reward pathway of the brain. This is all due to the fact that the sweetness of food is usually paired with raising blood glucose. This mechanism increases dopamine further beyond the “enjoyment” pathway of dopamine discussed above. This is why when you eat something sweet your brain is telling you to “eat more, eat more, eat more!”
This is where hidden sugars, or sugars where you can’t taste the sweetness, can trick your gut and brain. Hidden sugars in processed or packaged foods are there to trick you into wanting more of that food independent of how sweet that food tastes.
Maltodextrin is a common “hidden sugar” that actually raises your blood sugar MORE than sugar! Often, salt is used to hide the sweet taste.
Foods such as crackers or chips will have hidden sugars in them and cause you to crave them even more than if they didn’t have those hidden sugars in them.
Pathway Three: Blood Glucose Rise
There is a third pathway encouraging sugar cravings is the gut registering a food that will increase blood glucose. This is a survival mechanism in which the body and brain prefer glucose for energy.
As soon as it registers a food that will raise the blood glucose, it will seek more of it.
The “sweet” pathway is very different from the neural pathways that seek savory, salt, or bitter foods. The body is “hardwired” to seek out sweet foods, due to the fact that your nervous system and so many cells in your brain and body run on glucose.
Part of this intelligent system includes your liver’s ability to turn fructose into glucose, and also protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. All animals, not just people, prefer sugary taste to non-sugary taste for this reason.
One issue connected with this pathway is related to when any artificial sweeteners, not just maltodextrin, which raises blood sugar on its own, are ingested along with food that raises your blood sugar. There is a pavlovian response where the body is then conditioned to release insulin when just the non-caloric artificial sweetener, such as aspartame, saccharin, or possibly even stevia, is consumed alone, leading to the detrimental side effects of high insulin. Not only does insulin trigger the body to store fat, but it also will increase cravings for sweet foods or drinks just by ingesting a non-caloric sweetened drink or food, like diet soda.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings (Forever!)
In order to curb sugar cravings, you want to slow the rise of dopamine, lower the dopamine “hit” in general, and find healthy alternative ways to increase dopamine. Below are tips to slow the rise of dopamine, work around the sugar to dopamine pathways, and activate different dopamine pathways.
Accelerated Keto™ puts your body into ketosis and fat-burning mode within 30 minutes. It helps with Appetite Control and Physical and Mental Energy, as it teaches your body to utilize its own fat stores for energy. As your energy increases and your cravings for sugar decrease, you are able to seek alternative dopamine “hits” through activities, mental pursuits, healthy proteins, and proper salt consumption. Your brain quickly realizes that energy is coming from ketones and prefers them; as a result dopamine is triggered by ingesting high protein food sources that are nutrient dense. Essentially the brain’s dopamine pathway is rewired to prefer high protein and fat over sugar.
Furthermore, the body doesn’t need immediate outside sources of food to fuel. As the body is in that state, it is concentrating on cleaning out the bad cells, reducing inflammation, feeding the brain amazing energy, and healing the body. Where Accelerated Keto™ is different from any other exogenous ketone supplement is it has multiple herbal cofactors in the formula to increase ATP production in the cells (which is your true ENERGY), to “De-Fat” the Liver (where fat burning occurs), and to help alleviate Brain Fog. You do not need to eat a high-fat diet to benefit from Accelerated Keto™. Your body can snack on its own fat stores to stay in the state of ketosis. To learn more, you can watch this video.
This helps support pathogenic and bacterial balance in addition to improving blood sugar, digestion, and weight management. It helps break down proteins and fats as well.
Acceleradine® may help stabilize blood sugar, increase mood, and increase physical and mental energy. Most sugar cravings are linked to lower mood, low energy and insatiable blood sugar and this is why Acceleradine® is correlated with lower sugar cravings.
Not only is Acceleradine® helpful with blood sugar, but it is antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti–inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-allergenic, antihistamine, mucolytic, hydrating (2006, Miller), detoxifying, and energy-producing. It also triggers healthy apoptosis (natural death of traumatized and unhealthy cells), is the premise of rapid wound healing as well as disease reversal (2003, Zhang).
Additionally, because cravings are also connected to malnutrition as the body is seeking more food to satisfy those cravings, Acceleradine® is helpful in that it is necessary for assimilating key minerals, such as calcium and silica, and key vitamins, such as B12 and D.
Acceleradine® is superior to other iodine supplements because:
- It is enhanced with Scalar Energy. This means it is treated with the most balanced and highest frequency and heals at the deepest levels. Helps fight radiation exposure in addition to supplying ample Iodine to the body.
- It is Radiation Free. Seaweed and most other Iodine come from sources that are heavily radio-contaminated due to Fukushima.
- It is a Single Iodine Atom with 100% Bioavailability. Most Iodines are “diatomic” molecules (two atoms) that require the body to use more energy to break down, which is especially hard if you have a weak immune system, and the absorption is between 10-20 percent.
- It is Allergy Free. Most iodine supplements come from toxic sources or have other ingredients that may trigger allergies.
- It produces Apoptosis. This means it causes cell death of weak or diseased cells.
- It can Reverse the damage done to the DNA by mRNA and spiked proteins.
There are parallel pathways with sugar and salt to the brain, and thus using Accelerated Ancient Salt™ to satisfy your appetite when you have a sugar craving can be very effective. By putting the salt on your tongue or in a glass of water, sugar cravings may subside.
Accelerated Ancient Salt™ is not just any salt! Besides being the best-tasting salt you will have experienced, this is a strongly negatively charged salt. Because of the negative charge, it helps “pull out” positively charged toxins, parasites, and undigested fats. It is made from pure, raw, unbleached, unheated, unrefined ancient seabed and sea salt from pristine sources that contain no harmful or synthetic excipients. This product is a mixture of five precious salts from High-Frequency locations in the Andes Mountains, the Himalayas, and Utah. It is Scalar Charged to further enhance its Frequency. Through the use of basic quantum mechanics combined with the high purity of raw materials, a Scalar field is developed. The resultant Scalar energy is a Higher Frequency of energy that helps create the organization of the DNA.
Uses for the Accelerated Ancient Salt™ include:
- Reduces Blood Sugar and can be an alternative to sweets, soda, and white crackers
- Helps with appetite control, sugar cravings, and alleviates nausea when you put it on your tongue
- Provides an excellent source of Electrolytes
- Helps break down undigested fats
- Adds gourmet flavor to food
- Increases Frequency when used in detox baths
Cellular hydration and electrolytes may satisfy sugar cravings, due to the mixed signaling in the brain between sugar and salt. Quintessential is the perfect Isotonic solution of organic ocean minerals diluted with natural alpine spring water to achieve the same consistency as your blood plasma. It supports homeostasis, rehydration, and normal digestion.
This may help facilitate the burning of stored fat and has been shown to prevent abnormal or excessive liver accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides. It also may help support healthy methylation and hormonal balance.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids from Wild Fish and Animal Protein.
Just as the gut has neuropod cells to register glucose in the gut, it also has neuropods to register omega 3 fatty acids. When omega-3 fatty acids are ingested, they trigger a dopamine release, curbs cravings for glucose, and trigger a satiety signal.
Ingest Amino Acids from Wild Animal Protein.
Certain amino acids, like glutamine, also trigger the neuropod cells that trigger a dopamine release in addition to satisfying appetite cravings. By triggering dopamine through an alternative pathway and eating a nutrient dense food, sugar cravings will subside.
Lemon, Lime and Apple Cider Vinegar.
Consuming these before or at the same time as sugar blunt the rise in blood glucose. With a slower rise in blood glucose, the slower dopamine will rise, lessening the craving for more glucose.
If the body fails to get sufficient sleep, blood glucose will rise, and ghrelin, the hunger hormone, will rise, causing cravings to increase. Furthermore, cortisol (the stress hormone) will increase, which increases blood glucose through a separate pathway.
Walk for 10 Minutes After Each Meal
By taking a short walk after a meal, the rise in blood sugar is slowed and so is the rise in dopamine. This will dampen the craving for more sugar following a meal.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.