Why do I crave carbs and sugar when I’m tired?

This is a question I’m asked so often! And it’s a question I often ask myself!

Have you noticed how when you’re feeling overwhelmed by work or life, or when you’re struggling with energy swings, all you really want is a chocolate cookie, a packet of chips or a huge bowl of pasta? For some reason the piece of lettuce on your plate just isn’t really doing it for you!

Don’t stress – it is actually completely normal to crave sweets and junk food when you’re tired or stressed. It’s your body’s instinctive way of trying to get you some energy as quickly as possible and carbohydrates are the form of food that breaks down quickest into glucose in order to fuel our bodies.

The trick to stop craving carbs and sugar is to intentionally eat foods that balance your blood sugars. Eating these foods will not only reduce your food cravings but will also decrease your mood swings and energy crashes. In other words – they’ll help you have more sustained energy.

So which foods help to balance blood sugars? Basically, proteins and fats are broken down into glucose much slower than carbohydrates and so they help sustain more balanced blood sugars. Click here to get a list of foods and snacks you should eat more of to help balance your blood sugars – I like to call them the “good” foods.

As irresistible as it is, sugar just isn’t good for us and although it gives us a quick energy burst, this burst quickly ends in an energy crash. Unfortunately, sugar and refined carbohydrates are everywhere and according to the American Heart Association[i], the average person has approximately 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day!  Take a moment to think where you’re getting your sugar from each day. Are you taking note of the sugar that has been added to your bread?  To your breakfast cereal?  To your yoghurt?  To your ‘health bar’?  To your smoothie?  Quite frightening, isn’t it?

Instead of eating all this extra sugar, start eating more good proteins and fats that help balance your blood sugars and in this way you will crave less junk food and so eat less sugar.  If you’ve got some time to spare, have a listen to my latest video in which I talk a bit more about blood sugars and how to balance them.

[i] Harvard School of Public Health, 2021.  Accessed 2 November 2021. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/

Author: Ruth Hull. 

Ruth trained as a homoeopathic doctor and integrative health consultant and has a special interest in working with people struggling with chronic fatigue, burnout or insomnia. She is author of Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology for Therapists and Healthcare Professionals as well as three other health-related textbooks. She is based in Perth, Australia, and also consults online: http://www.ruthhull.com/

DISCLAIMER: You should not rely on this information as a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health and before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet you should always consult your general medical practitioner or other health professional. The use of any information provided by Ruth Hull and/or The Health Lounge is at your sole risk and no assurance can be given that the information provided will always include the most recent findings or developments. All events and information are provided according to the laws of Western Australia.