When I’m out dining my first glance at the menu goes straight to the dessert section. If there is no dessert option (or just an uninspiring version of Costco ice cream) you will see a disappointed face and dropping shoulders. A meal is not a meal without a sweet finish. At home a tiny square of dark chocolate does the trick for my sugar cravings or my newest discovery – guilt and caffeine free licorice tea.
Why is it that we need to satisfy our sweet tooth after a meal?
1. One possible explanation for sugar cravings is that unbalanced meals (such as refined starchy foods like pasta) lead to unbalanced blood sugar levels, which lead to sugar cravings.
2. In my case the sweet desire is probably more of a psychological nature. Like Pavlov’s dog I conditioned my body that after preparing a meal, eating and doing dishes I get a reward, a dog bone. The dog bone (or better the sugar on my tongue) releases serotonin (one of our happy chemicals) in the brain, which makes me happy and calm.
3. Often cravings indicate nutrient deficiencies. You shouldn’t take that lightly. Denying sweets is not a solution and can intensify sweet cravings. However, this should not be an excuse to order all the desserts from the menu or giving in to sugar cravings right away.
Anyhow, sugar cravings are there for a reason. Hire a nutritionist if you want some investigative insight to figure out what is the cause.
What you can do when sugar cravings submerge:
- The Matthew McConaughey trick: brushing your teeth right after a meal.
- The Tony Horton approach: going for a walk or doing a short workout (exercise boosts serotonin levels).
- The natural Tanja dog bone: Drink a cup of caffeine free licorice tea or pick a more nutritious sweet dessert like watermelon or chia pudding.
Your secret is safe here 🙂 Leave a comment below how you fight off sugar cravings.
And just to make it clear. I mean licorice tea and not licorice candy.
I know, I know. I lured you in with a picture of licorice candy (see how well conditioning works). Licorice root is also known as sweetroot and is 50 times sweeter than sugar cane. That’s why it doesn’t need any more sugar and the tea tastes perfectly sweet by itself. Licorice candy is mainly made up of sugar and has no health benefits.
Let me point out a few additional powers of the herb licorice besides fighting sugar cravings. I guess very few of us associate licorice with a plant. In nutrition school licorice crossed my path when I was doing research in regards to bacterial problems in the digestive tract. Studies suggest that licorice can block the growth of a bacterium that is associated with peptic ulcers, which makes it a natural antibiotic. Again, we are talking about the liquid extract of licorice root, not the candy!
Health benefits of licorice root extract.
And apparently licorice root has even more anti-skills than that. Recent research suggests that it has anti-cancer properties by inhibiting the growth of some tumors. It is also considered anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-stress, anti-toxic, anti-constipation, anti-nausea, anti-cirrhosis and anti-cold-and-flu (I made that word up).
Under Chinese herbalists licorice is among the most commonly used herbs. Immune-supporting herbs can stimulate your body to produce more immune cells, increase the activity of existing immune cells or directly impacts bacteria and viruses. If you are interested in the benefits of licorice extract visit a certified herbalist like Gaia Garden for recommendations in regards to dosage and use. Too much of a good thing is not always good. Research shows that people with liver disorder or high blood pressure as well as pregnant woman should not use licorice extract.Sugar cravings after a meal? How to fight them off. by Tanja Knapp