Considering sugar’s addictive nature, it’s really no surprise that some Americans may experience intense cravings for sweet foods. When stress levels (and cortisol) rise, eating sugar can provide that hit of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin to help you feel better.
But a sugar craving — especially a particular type of sugar — can indicate much more than a dependence on the sweet stuff. In some cases, it can be a sign of underlying mineral deficiencies.
In this guide from Sweetkick, we’ll explain common sugar cravings, what they mean, and how you can change your eating habits and finally kick ‘em to the curb.
What Are the Different Types of Sugar Cravings?
The world of sugars is one that’s big and diverse.
You can find sugar in anything from high-fructose corn syrup to a bowl of oatmeal, smoothies, and a crispy apple. These items contain different types of sugars, which are broken down by the body in unique ways.
Plus, you often don’t get sugar in its pure form. If it comes with your food, you’re also getting a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can change how your body processes sugar.
So, it should come as no surprise that a sugar craving isn’t only a sugar craving. Sometimes, you want sugar in addition to a certain type of nutrient.
Keeping that in mind, here are some of the most common sugar cravings and which nutritional deficiencies they can mean.
1. Chocolate Craving
High-quality chocolate is made with cacao powder, a superfood that’s rich in magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that regulates over 300 different processes in the body. Needless to say, your body absolutely requires it to function at its best. Well, it just so happens that more than half of U.S. adults have a magnesium deficiency.
Now, here’s the good news. It may not be such a bad thing if you're craving chocolate. Not only is cacao powder rich in magnesium, but it’s also chock-full of antioxidants. Plus, if you’re eating the high-quality stuff, you’re getting a hefty dose of heart-healthy cacao butter.
Just avoid too much added sugar by going for dark chocolate. Your chocolate should be at least 70% cacao. And higher than 90% can make your chocolate a healthy food.
2. Ice Cream Craving
If you’re dreaming about ice cream made with real dairy, you could be deficient in calcium.
Calcium isn’t only important for strong bones and healthy teeth but also for healthy heart contractions, nerve functions, and blood clotting. Oh, and it can determine your risk of getting osteoporosis in the future.
Only your doctor can tell you if you’re deficient in calcium. But some signs to watch out for include unexplained fatigue, brain fog, and muscle cramping.
More people than ever are staying away from dairy for health reasons. Grass-fed dairy fares significantly better than the conventional stuff, but not everyone can handle it.
If you’d rather get calcium from other sources, then dark leafy greens are an excellent plant-based alternative. You can also get calcium from small fatty fish (with bones) such as sardines.
3. Cereal Cravings
If you’re (strangely) craving a bowl of raisin bran, you may be deficient in zinc. This mineral is found in whole grains, including sugary cereals.
Zinc gets its claim to fame due to its ability to fight colds. But it can also assist with creating DNA, helping to grow new cells, and healing damaged tissues. Pretty serious stuff.
If you get sick often, a zinc deficiency may be to blame. It’s definitely not uncommon, even amongst those who eat a healthy diet.
You should talk with your doc before supplementing with zinc. This mineral can build up in the body and become toxic if too much accumulates. That’s why we prefer to get zinc from whole foods.
Some rich sources of zinc include grass-fed red meat, oysters (fresh or canned), crab, lobster, beans, and pumpkin seeds.
4. Banana Craving
Okay, bananas may be high in sugar, but it’s mostly glucose — a type of sugar that your body metabolizes very well. Bananas are also high in antioxidants and several minerals. So, all in all, a banana craving isn’t anything to worry about.
However, a banana craving may be a sign of needing more potassium. This mineral helps to make sure that our cell fluids remain well-balanced. It also supports efficient muscle contractions and healthy blood pressure.
If you find yourself not only craving bananas but also feeling extremely tired, experiencing heart palpitations, and getting muscle cramps, then a potassium deficiency may be the culprit here.
Give in to what your body needs and eat a banana.
Not a fan of bananas? Other potassium sources include avocados, butternut squash, spinach, potatoes, and beans.
5. General Sugar Craving
If you’re suddenly craving all kinds of sugary foods, you may not be deficient in a mineral.
Rather, your blood sugar may be to blame.
When we eat highly-processed food, our blood glucose levels spike — and drop just as suddenly. This can leave you starving, exhausted, and experiencing intense food cravings.
Do you eat a balanced diet? Did it include enough protein, fat, and fiber? If it didn’t, you’re likely experiencing a drop in your blood sugar levels.
Include at least 15 grams of protein in each meal to balance your blood sugar levels. This doesn’t necessarily need to come from meat: eggs, dairy, and even some vegetables have a high protein content.
Also, be sure to include fat, which your body burns slower than carbohydrates, leading to sustained energy.
Last but not least, eat plenty of fiber. Veggies are chock-full of them. Fiber will nourish your gut microbiome, providing you with stable blood sugar levels for a longer period of time.
Curb Sugar Cravings With Sweetkick
If you feel like you’re addicted to sugar, you’re definitely not imagining it.
Unless it’s coming from whole food sources, like fiber-rich fruit, sugar can affect your brain like a drug. Sugar addiction comes with dependence, cravings, and even withdrawal symptoms.
At Sweetkick, we totally get that. That’s why we came up with a variety of products that can help you curb your sweet tooth:
- Sugar Control Tablets: These peppermint-flavored Sugar Control Tablets are made with Gymnema sylvestre, a plant that blocks sugar's taste on your taste buds. The result? A complete loss of interest in sugar.
- SweetkickClusters: Snacking is absolutely necessary if you’re going a long time between meals. We’d never want you to reach for something like a glucose-spiking granola bar. That’s why we made our Clusters with the perfect combination of nuts, seeds, and superfood ingredients — and zero sugar.
- Body Balance Powder: This morning powder is packed with prebiotic fiber that can nourish your microbiome, as well as a blend of essential vitamins and minerals. Add it to your favorite drink, mix, and stir — for all-day sugar cravings control.
- MacroShake: For those days when full meals just aren’t happening, our Macro Shake can be your best friend. Packed with high-quality proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, and fiber, this delicious shake could help you kick sugar cravings.
Kicking sugar ain’t easy, but it sure is worth it. And Sweetkick will be here every step of the way to say that you got this.