The Surprising Way Meditating Could Help You Kick Your Sugar Cravings

woman meditating

Even if you have a huge sweet tooth, you've probably noticed that your sweets cravings skyrocket at certain times. (Even when you're not expecting your period for another week and a half.)

Why? Turns out, stress could be the culprit. According to Dr. Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N., a clinical pharmacist, author and board-certified clinical nutritionist, stress can make you crave sugar, since eating sweets can help increase production of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter.

It makes sense, then, that Dr. LaValle recommends finding ways to relax to curb stress-induced sugar cravings. One method is taking “stress-balancing supplements that contain ingredients like rhodiola, ashwagandha or B vitamins and GABA, which can help counteract stress hormones and support better serotonin production without having to resort to sweets,” he told us. Beyond supplements, there are lots of other ways to manage stress, from building more time for hobbies into your schedule or bullet journaling to spending time outdoors or starting a meditation practice (here's what you need to know about mindfulness meditation).  

You might be thinking: Is sugar really that bad for me? The short answer is—and we truly loathe having to say this—yes. According to researchers at the University of Michigan, sugar can be addictive in a similar way to drugs and alcohol. You might even experience symptoms of withdrawal when you try to cut back.

A 2008 study at Princeton University examined sugar's effect on rats, finding that, when their sugar supply was taken away, "the rats’ brain levels of dopamine dropped and, as a result, they exhibited anxiety as a sign of withdrawal. The rats’ teeth chattered, and the creatures were unwilling to venture forth into the open arm of their maze, preferring to stay in a tunnel area. Normally rats like to explore their environment, but the rats in sugar withdrawal were too anxious to explore."

Welp, sounds like it's time we re-download Headspace.

3 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Habit for Good, According to a Nutritionist

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...