What’s causing that chocolate craving?

Many people crave for a sugary diet. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Many people crave for a sugary diet. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
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No matter how much self-control you have, if a craving strikes then the biscuit tin or chocolate box is a temptation too strong to resist.

And while we all like to dip into a little bit of what we fancy, strong and frequent cravings can be a sign that we need to take a look at our diet.

One of the most common cravings is the sugar pang, battling irrepressible urges to reach for a large slab of cake, chocolate or pudding.

Sugar cravings are very common, and usually aren’t a symptom of any serious illnesses.

It’s a common concern that they could be a sign of diabetes, but this isn’t the case – increased and excessive thirst, needing the loo a lot, tiredness and blurry vision are key things to watch out for here.

For a lot of people, sugar cravings may simply be an indication of a poor diet, which could eventually impact on your health.

Lee-on-the-Solent nutritional therapist Rachel Jessey, who runs BeNourished, explains a large influx of sugar can lead to a big rush of insulin, which regulates glucose levels in the blood.

This in turn can make the glucose levels drop too far and eventually lead to further cravings.

She says: ‘Your body has to keep blood sugars at an even level and will put everything into place to get them high enough or low enough again. If there’s a very big influx it’s difficult to measure how much is coming into the bloodstream.’

Rachel says that those without underlying health conditions should have no problems with blood glucose regulation.

But she warns that hidden sugars, added to those found naturally in the diet, can result in these big surges of sugar and insulin.

‘That can lead to cravings. The body is very adept at knowing what it needs quickly. That’s when you reach for the biscuit tin.’

Rachel says breakfast cereals are a common culprit as many contain huge levels of sugar. She recommends Shredded Wheat or sweetening natural yoghurt and berries with a drizzle of honey.

Another craving is for carbs like bread and pasta. These can increase levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin so act as a comfort food. But it can again be a sign of low blood sugar.

A balanced diet with plenty of fibre can help slow the rate of sugar entering the blood.