3

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Permanent Sugar Cravings While Eating Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 25, 2013 at 10:37 PM

EnglishRose pointed out that the children of alcoholics may be genetically inclined to sugar addiction. My mother was an alcoholic for 20 yrs who drank heavily while pregnant. She also had low-blood sugar, low weight, and constant sugar cravings. This may partially explain her alcoholism, as she mostly drank sweet wines.

I've had intense sugar cravings my whole life, even after months of eating low-sugar paleo. I also have a fast metabolism and can eat large amounts of sugar without gaining weight. Blood tests show no signs of diabetes.

Do you think that some people just have a high sugar-burning metabolism?

Could this be a medical condition related to diabetes?

Does anyone else have intense sugar cravings while eating paleo?

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on September 02, 2013
at 07:49 PM

Haha, that's true. Stevia is a good option to make healthy meals taste sweet, without massive sugar intake. Thanks for the tip.

50ef4a664144b97faa37430916739309

on August 29, 2013
at 10:46 PM

Indeed, if 100-150g carbs worth of fruit provides sufficient sweetness, go for it. But this amount of fruit might not be sufficient for a Western conditioned sweet-tooth; hence the option of using Stevia or equivalent to achieve almost any level of sweetness below 150g/day. Indeed 100-150g of such sweeteners each day would be insane - like pouring several litres of normal sugar on each meal from a taste perspective...

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:56 PM

Gary Taubes is brilliant, but he assumes that people can only excel on his recommended high-fat/low-carb diet. People worldwide excel on a range of macronutrient compositions. Why not get 150g carbs/day from a pile of fruits & vegetables? The soluble fiber controls the rate of sugar absorption, and the micronutrients more than offset inflammation due to sugar. You could separate your fats/carbs to avoid the damaging combination that Taubes wrote about.

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:52 PM

Hi Peace, Many paleos observe that they need to increase carbs to the ~150g/day range to maintain energy and suppress cravings. They tend to be thin people, who probably use calories at an accelerated rate. What's your natural body composition?

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:49 PM

Thank for your thorough response. That is excellent advice for adjusting to paleo. The thing is, I've eaten low-carb paleo for months at a time, frequently going into ketosis, and the cravings never fade. I eat balanced O3/6 fats for good health, but I've never liked the taste, even when eating a low-sugar diet. My body just seems to prefer burning carbs. That being the case, its worthwhile to get annual blood tests to monitor fasting glucose and make sure type-2 diabetes isn't developing. As you say, leanness can conceal bad health rather than indicate good health.

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:45 PM

That's very interesting. Most Americans are magnesium deficient, and that may contribute to many people's sugar cravings. I take Jigsaw Complete, which includes 500mg magnesium (125% DV), so I don't believe its a problem with me.

A6b7afacdb512b861716bca9e9226ad3

(333)

on August 26, 2013
at 11:37 AM

(I meant to add that alcohol has the overall effect of depleting magnesium, from what I've read)

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 26, 2013
at 12:34 AM

Fascinating question.

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4 Answers

1
0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 26, 2013
at 01:23 PM

Here are some suggestions for sugar-cravings:

  • try to stabilize blood sugar as much as possible
    • don't eat high-glycemic foods
    • try a low-carb paleo approach
    • try a ketogenic paleo approach (this worked very well for me in term of cravings). By the way, you might not need to stay ketogenic. You could try to just go keto for a few days and then add back in some carbs, focusing on low-glycemic carbs. A ketogenic diet often helps with hunger and cravings and I think there is some benefit to going keto for only a short period of time to help manage hunger/cravings).
  • make sure you eat enough protein and fat
  • make sure to eat regularly (at least 3 meals a day)
  • if you have sugar cravings, eat something else. Try something fatty, some protein snack or some nuts
  • l-glutamine (I don't have experience with it, but it is said to help with sugar cravings)

I do think there are high-sugar burners out there: - endurance athletes - teenagers

I did not have problems with sugar until I my 20s; or let me rephrase it: I did not notice problems with sugars until my 20s.

But I have to add one thing: Not getting heavier eating a lot of sugar does not mean not having problems because of it. We often are too focused on weight alone. A high-sugar diet can manifest itself in a lot different ways. If you are lucky, you get heavier. Yes, I really mean "luckier", because it's better to get heavier and clearly notice that something is wrong than stay lean whatever you eat or do and getting sicker and sicker every day without every realizing it (until it might be too late).

By the way, I also had craving while eating paleo (which includes dairy for me). For me it's often a caused by eating something sweet daily and possible also at about the same time. After a couple of days I start to crave it at the same time I always have it. Getting off sugar can be hard, because the cravings can be very strong. The good thing is it often doesn't take long to get off it, once you eliminate the cause. And once the craving is gone, you feel free and in control.

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:49 PM

Thank for your thorough response. That is excellent advice for adjusting to paleo. The thing is, I've eaten low-carb paleo for months at a time, frequently going into ketosis, and the cravings never fade. I eat balanced O3/6 fats for good health, but I've never liked the taste, even when eating a low-sugar diet. My body just seems to prefer burning carbs. That being the case, its worthwhile to get annual blood tests to monitor fasting glucose and make sure type-2 diabetes isn't developing. As you say, leanness can conceal bad health rather than indicate good health.

1
A6b7afacdb512b861716bca9e9226ad3

(333)

on August 26, 2013
at 11:12 AM

I don't know if you take magnesium, but after I started taking it my sugar cravings became a shell of their former selves...I used to search the cupboards for literally anything sweet.

Mg and insulin do have a relationship from what I've read.

definitely an interesting question!

A6b7afacdb512b861716bca9e9226ad3

(333)

on August 26, 2013
at 11:37 AM

(I meant to add that alcohol has the overall effect of depleting magnesium, from what I've read)

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:45 PM

That's very interesting. Most Americans are magnesium deficient, and that may contribute to many people's sugar cravings. I take Jigsaw Complete, which includes 500mg magnesium (125% DV), so I don't believe its a problem with me.

0
50ef4a664144b97faa37430916739309

on August 27, 2013
at 07:50 AM

On the bell curve of Paleo uptake, some people have anecdotally taken years to de-condition themselves from sugar. Pragmatically, you should simply resort artificial sweeteners and derived products. The net gain from low-carb nutrition exceeds the mostly overblown concerns regarding these sweeteners.

You may very well have a permanently damaged metabolism(!); one of the hypothetical few that Gary Taubes theorised could exist. In which case a robust pragmatic compromise may be required - something along the lines of modified Atkins instead of grass-fed Paleo.

@Peace Regarding your question of carb reduction and ethanol craving; apparently fructose (sugar) and ethanol are metabolised in much the same way. Dr Lustig's video lecture covers this point at about 50m57s into his video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:56 PM

Gary Taubes is brilliant, but he assumes that people can only excel on his recommended high-fat/low-carb diet. People worldwide excel on a range of macronutrient compositions. Why not get 150g carbs/day from a pile of fruits & vegetables? The soluble fiber controls the rate of sugar absorption, and the micronutrients more than offset inflammation due to sugar. You could separate your fats/carbs to avoid the damaging combination that Taubes wrote about.

50ef4a664144b97faa37430916739309

on August 29, 2013
at 10:46 PM

Indeed, if 100-150g carbs worth of fruit provides sufficient sweetness, go for it. But this amount of fruit might not be sufficient for a Western conditioned sweet-tooth; hence the option of using Stevia or equivalent to achieve almost any level of sweetness below 150g/day. Indeed 100-150g of such sweeteners each day would be insane - like pouring several litres of normal sugar on each meal from a taste perspective...

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on September 02, 2013
at 07:49 PM

Haha, that's true. Stevia is a good option to make healthy meals taste sweet, without massive sugar intake. Thanks for the tip.

0
22ed067dfadf3ce563b2f0b9f8bf70bb

on August 26, 2013
at 12:46 PM

Hi Johnny

I've noticed that when I reduce my carbs dramatically I really crave alcohol. From what I understand it's linked to very low blood sugar. It's marginally better after eating a large meal of fatty protein such as smoked mackerel but the craving is still there. It disappears completely when I increase my carbs - coincidence or not?? I would be interested to hear other people's views on this.

Peace x

Fa4b934bc224b17784fe0ee36d153dcd

(168)

on August 27, 2013
at 03:52 PM

Hi Peace, Many paleos observe that they need to increase carbs to the ~150g/day range to maintain energy and suppress cravings. They tend to be thin people, who probably use calories at an accelerated rate. What's your natural body composition?

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