Why Do We Keep Craving?

Why do we keep craving? Smoother Health

Let’s imagine this scenario: You’ve just started a new diet and are looking over the food list for things you can eat. Did you immediately search for the goodies? I would have. You notice that you are allowed 1 dessert after dinner – 1/2 cup ice cream, 1 cookie or 1 brownie (all “sugar free” or “low fat”, of course). My question to you is this: HONESTLY, would one dozen servings last you one dozen days?

Have you ever lost weight on a program, feeling great and confident, only to slip back into old habits as you switch to the maintenance plan, maybe adding back in fruit, dark chocolate, nut butters or the above mentioned dessert?

I follow a Keto group on Facebook and daily they are searching for the most keto friendly versions of processed comfort foods, whipping up baked breads & desserts that are “keto-fied” with artificial sweeteners, and then frequently reporting they have “fallen off the wagon” and are restarting tomorrow. I’ve been there and done that, and it really slows down (or negates) any progress.


I’m a sugar addict. Most of us have a sweet tooth – with varying intensities. Sugar is addictive. It targets that opioid reward center in the brain just like alcohol, nicotine, heroin and crack. And a “Sugar-Crackhead” is an accurate description of how I felt when I was craving some. Oh you might not have seen it to look at me, but it was going on in there.

This addiction actually serves a purpose in our perfectly designed human body. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate and craved seasonal items such as fruits, gourds and tubers in the summer and fall because they needed to put on extra weight for the winter to survive. The long summer days increased their appetites as well, to ensure they ate as much as possible. Seasonal foods and winter famine are no longer issues in our modern day world. And with electric lights extending our daylight hours, to our bodies, it LOOKS like we are in an ENDLESS summer and winter NEVER comes. It’s no wonder obesity is an epidemic!

If a particular food is your drug, ANY portion, large or small, will ignite insatiable cravings. Our addicted brain is wired to crave more as soon as even the smallest amount has entered our system.” says author Vera Tarman in Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction. That’s one bite of your husband’s piece of cake. Or a spoonful of ice cream from that tub in the freezer. #ad

Anyone can look forward to a snack when they are hungry, but food addicts think about their favorite foods all day long. Whether it is trying to resist a temptation or plotting a binge. Cravings are hard to manage with the thoughts we tell ourselves: “Just one bite won’t hurt”; “Everyone else is enjoying some, so why can’t I?”; “I will start back on my diet as soon as the birthday cake is gone.” How quickly our willpower weakens in spite of our determination.

It may seem that life without your sweets is just not worth living or perhaps you can’t fathom ever feeling like the cravings might end. The truth is that while you will have to abstain from your food triggers, probably forever, once you’ve detoxed off them, the cravings will disappear. Treats you fantasized over just no longer spark your interest.

A meat based way of eating is ideal to accomplish this because it removes the usual food triggers and stabilizes blood sugars so you’re not having those crashes that send you running for sweets or caffeine. And don’t worry about the “carb or keto flu” – yes, it can be awful for a few days or weeks, but there are plenty of strategies to manage while you detox. And detox you must if you truly want to kick the habit!

P.S. I apologize for featuring that brownie image up top. We’re going to pretend that I accidentally used salt in place of the sugar in that recipe, so it tastes truly awful. Have you ever done that? 🤢🤮

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