Cravings—whether they’re for something sweet, salty, chewy, or crunchy—often communicate something more profound than hunger. In some instances, cravings can stem from an emotional place, like nostalgia, sadness, or comfort. But when the sugar cravings strike randomly and often, your body may be sending a more physiological signal.
Registered dietitian nutritionist Ayat Sleymann, M.S., RDN, took to TikTok to share three possible explanations for constant sugar cravings, plus how to manage them:
1.Blood sugar fluctuations
Spikes and dips in blood sugar could be to blame for your sudden and intense sugar cravings. “When your blood sugar levels drop, your body will try to get your blood sugar back up, so it will crave more food,” Sleymann explains in the video.
Junk food may be to blame for these blood sugar fluctuations, nutritional psychiatrist Georgia Ede, M.D., once told mbg. Highly processed sugars and carbs are more quickly digested and absorbed into the body, leading to blood sugar spikes and, of course, subsequent drops.
To avoid the drop, Sleymann recommends adding more protein and fiber-rich carbs to your meals. These nutrients are more slowly digested and help keep blood sugar levels stabilized, she says. They also keep you feeling fuller longer.
Magnesium is a mineral in the body responsible for protein synthesis, blood sugar control, energy production, and many more essential functions. “When you are deficient in magnesium, your body has a hard time bringing energy into the cells, which makes you feel tired and crave sugar,” Sleymann says.
To ensure you’re getting adequate magnesium levels, consider taking a supplement or adding magnesium-rich foods into your diet. Along with potentially curbing sugar cravings, magnesium can also enhance sleep quality.
While we often associate dehydration with dry mouth, headaches, or urine color changes, it could also be detected through sugar cravings. “Oftentimes, we misinterpret our thirst signal as a signal for hunger,” Sleymann says.
To quell this feeling and support your hydration, drink water, tea, or an electrolyte-rich beverage. If you’re still hungry, consider a hydrating snack, like cucumbers, watermelon, or berries.
It can be challenging to take the time to make dinner when all you want to do is dig into that box of cookies. But remember, being mindful of what you’re consuming and practicing gratitude for the food on your plate can make it easier to actually enjoy healthy eating.
And if you’re still craving dessert after a well-balanced and nourishing dinner, that could be a sign you seriously want something sweet, and that’s OK, too. If that’s the case, these brownie recipes, Mediterranean diet desserts, and cookie recipes may come in handy.