Why do we crave sugar after a meal?

Controlling cravings

After a tasty, fulfilling meal, many people will have their sweet tooth yelling at them. You may be nourished and satisfied, but the childhood habit of reaching for a sweet treat after dinner is hard to ignore.

But the question is, is the sweet craving just a bad habit or is there another reason why we are reaching for the biscuit tin?

Sugar cravings can be due to a physical imbalance. There are some simple, physical reasons why we crave sugar after a meal including:

Your meal was too salty

The sugar craving after your meal is the body’s natural way of trying to rebalance your levels. Eating food with added salt will make us feel like we need something sweet. To help this, try to avoid adding salt to flavour meals, use herbs instead!

You are eating too fast or not chewing

Your body’s digestive system needs you to chew properly and take care when doing so. The enzymes in the saliva start the digestive process and this process only starts once the saliva is mixed with the food.

You are dehydrated

Try to avoid drinking water during the meal, but have a drink after. Drinking during the meal can result in your body not digesting the food properly. A poor digestion can result in you wanting a sweet treat.

You ate too many “simple carbs”

These trigger the desire to continue eating. The blood sugar spike causes the body’s insulin to increase also, making you think you want more to fuel the rise.

If you are not satisfied after your meal, you may be missing out on vital fats and fibre necessary to reach fullness. When you haven’t reached satisfaction, the sweet craving kicks in to replace what you were lacking.

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Ellen Hoggard

Written by Ellen Hoggard

Ellen is the Content Manager for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.
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