Often we tend to indulge in ice-creams, mithais, custards, or simply chocolates even after a wholesome meal. Eating desserts has been associated with celebration and rewards since childhood, hence very often we find happiness and solace in consuming sweets. However, these sweet cravings ruin all our efforts to lose weight and leave us with a guilty feeling. But there is indeed a physiological reasoning behind this association.
Consuming sweet foods gives us happiness because they increase the serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical released by the brain which controls food intake, especially carbohydrates and high serotonin levels gives a feeling of “high” or uplifts our mood. Low serotonin levels occurring due to stress or depression are often a trigger for consuming carbohydrate –rich foods.
Why do most of us crave for sweets soon after meals?
One reason could be simple brain conditioning wherein we feel that the meal is incomplete without a dessert. Secondly, it has been proposed that meals which are mainly carbohydrate dense, especially containing simple carbohydrates (refined cereals, white rice, etc) causing a rapid rise in blood sugar may be followed by sudden drop in levels; once the sugar is utilized by cells resulting in craving for sweet foods. However, there is no definite scientific evidence to prove this theory.
Nevertheless, one must make a conscious effort to consume protein and complex carbohydrate rich foods at each meal. High protein (dals, pulses, curd, soyabean, etc) and complex carbohydrates (jowar, ragi (nachni), oats, etc) provide greater satiety or feeling of fullness thereby reducing excess food intake at subsequent meal.
Some other ways of reducing sweet cravings following a meal are-
-Chewing on a minty sugar free gum
-Brushing teeth immediately after meal
-Consuming naturally sweet foods such as dried fruits.
Selecting naturally sweet food instead of the sugar-laden food or the ones with artificial sweeteners may be the best way to nurture your sweet cravings. While, it is ok to sometimes give in to sweet cravings, you must always keep a check on your health indicators on a regular basis alongside. You can upload your medical reports and heath indicators on eKincare and keep a track of your health.