Why You Crave Sugar and How to Combat It?

Cravings. Ugh.

Who knew that your midnight cravings for ice cream and doughnuts would stick around AFTER you gave birth? Cravings post-birth are extremely common. Often, mums find themselves wanting sugar more than ever.

The reason behind the desire for sweet foods can be hard to pinpoint as there are so many physical and emotional changes happening all at once. However, we will discuss the most common causes and solutions below.

What Causes Sugar Cravings and How Can I Manage Them?

Lack Of Sleep Causes An Increased Need For High-Calorie Foods

You guessed it; sleep deprivation is a major cause of sugar cravings - especially for breastfeeding mums. When we've skimped on sleep, our brains get tired. And our clever brains know that the quickest way to get a lively boost is through their most desired energy source, carbohydrates.

Let's face it, getting the shut-eye you need will likely be impossible. So instead, we need to give our brain the carbohydrates it's craving. However, instead of reaching for quick fixes like chocolate, fizzy drinks or sweet biscuits, we need to find a healthy replacement. Healthy carb-rich foods include:

  • Bananas
  • Sweet potato (or sweet potato chips for a treat)
  • Oats with a bit of honey for sweetness
  • Carrots with hummus

Post-Partum Hormonal Changes And Sugar Cravings

Let's take a little look at what's happening to your hormones after birth:

  • Your progesterone and estrogen levels drop instantly after giving birth
  • Your oxytocin (happy hormone) surges initially
  • Your prolactin (milk producing hormone) rises and will remain raised until you stop breastfeeding

That's a lot of changes going on all at once. It's no wonder you find yourself reaching for comforting foods, much like when you have your monthly cycle.

Even though you can't control your hormones, you can influence your blood sugar levels which will help keep you feeling a little steadier. The easiest way to do this is to avoid skipping meals. When we get overly hungry, our blood sugar levels drop, which can bring on cravings.

Are Sugar Cravings a Sign of a Nutrient Deficiency? 

During birth, the mother provides the baby with all their needs through the placenta. The baby has enormous requirements for energy, iron, zinc, magnesium and lots of other vitamins and minerals.

Often leading to the mum becoming depleted. The mother's depletion doesn't miraculously restore when the baby is born. The deficiency that occurs postnatally can last up to ten years.

Deficiencies directly link to food cravings. A magnesium deficiency often causes sweet cravings. So, before giving in to your lolly cravings, try upping your intake of foods that are naturally high in magnesium, like chicken, eggs, legumes or a little dark chocolate.

How to Combat Sugar Cravings 

Before giving into your sweet cravings think about why you might be having this hankering. If you’re tired, try going for a walk to pep yourself up. If you’ve been making poor food choices, try a healthy wholefood snack first.

What are some Healthy Alternatives to Sugary Snacks when I have a Sugar Craving?

If your short on time but finding yourself getting overly hungry throughout the day, give In Shape Mummy Health Shakes a go. One shake will not only fill you up and satisfy your sweet cravings, but you’ll also be giving your body a boost of 25 vitamins and minerals, protein and probiotics. These delicious Chocolate Brownie, Caramel Fudge and Vanilla Shakes will satisfy your sweet cravings yet contain only 1 gram of sugar per serve and are sweetened with monk fruit. 

Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.

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