Sugar cravings after a meal? How to fight them off.

Sugar cravings licorice root candy
"You can't by happiness, but you can buy dessert." - I couldn't have said it better.

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.

organic liquorice root teaI 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
About the Author
Tanja Knapp

Tanja Knapp is an Explorer, Adventurer and Happiness Hunter currently camping in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Her roots are in Germany where she grew up on a remote farm. A colony of abnormal cells in her cervix taught her the lesson that would change her life forever. Life doesn't get better by chance, it get better by change. She truly believes in creating happiness & health through constant adapting, growing and evolving. Her super power is curiosity. With her blog she likes to inspire others to explore uncharted territory.

If she is not busy writing, running, swimming or cycling, she is expanding her knowledge, exploring the World, and taking on new challenges.

She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and graduated with an Honors diploma in Holistic Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2013. She obtained a Hospitality certification in 1998 and a Marketing Communications diploma in 2004. She has worked both in Europe and North America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.