Have you ever been really thirsty?
Maybe you’ve spent the day outside in the hot summer sun.
Or, maybe you’ve been drenched in sweat after physical activity.
Nobody questions a sign of thirst as a potentially harmful craving or addiction.
Thirst is simply a sign from your body that you need more water.
And because water is considered “healthy”, you never think twice about it.
It’s just a natural response to a physiological need.
Well, the truth is that sugar cravings are no different.
However, when it comes to sugar and other foods that are often looked upon negatively, it’s easy to blame the food, even when it’s entirely unwarranted.
Cravings are simply signs that your body is missing something, even if it’s something you might not believe to be “healthy”.
Ever wonder why women crave certain foods like salt, sugar, and/or chocolate pre-menstrually and during pregnancy?
Or, how about why diabetics oftentimes crave sugar even though their blood sugar is elevated?
I’ll show you why in just a second.
What Your Sugar Cravings Really Mean for Your Hypothyroidism
There are all kinds of illogical theories out there regarding sugar cravings.
Some people have been led to believe that their brains are somehow just wired the wrong way.
Some have been led to believe that they just lack the willpower to fight their cravings.
Some have even been led to believe (even more illogically) that sugar cravings are the result of other factors beyond their control, such as Candida.
(Note: Want to know what really causes Candida? Check out this article on “Why Candida-Diets Kill Your Thyroid (and Make Your Candida Worse)”.)
The reality is this…
Sugar cravings are common with hypothyroidism because hypothyroidism sufferers are very prone to hypoglycemia and insulin resistance (diabetes), both of which leave your cells starved of sugar.
You require thyroid hormone (T3), sugar, and insulin in order to store sugar in your liver.
And storing sugar in your liver is essential for preventing and protecting yourself from hypoglycemia.
Because hypothyroidism sufferers can’t store sugar, this makes you prone to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Your cells survive by metabolizing sugar.
And more importantly, your brain is the largest consumer of sugar in your body.
Without adequate sugar available to meet your brain’s requirements your brain can’t function.
It’s when you don’t meet the demands of your brain and cells that the real problems occur, which you’ll see in just a minute.
But first, what about diabetics?
Why would a diabetic crave sugar when their blood sugar is elevated?
Diabetes is not a disease caused by sugar.
It’s a dysfunction within your body that prevents you from delivering the sugar in your bloodstream to your brain and cells.
It’s like a dam.
If you stop the flow of water through a river, it’s going to build up and pool.
The same goes for your blood sugar.
If you can’t deliver sugar to your cells, it’s going to build up in your bloodstream.
So, while many blame sugar as the cause of diabetes, nothing could be further from the truth.
(Note: Want to know what really causes diabetes? Check out this article on “Hypothyroidism and Diabetes: How to Reverse It and Why Sugar Is NOT the Problem”.)
The important thing to understand is this…
Sugar cravings occur when your brain and cells are starved of the sugar they need to function.
And ignoring those cravings can actually be dangerous.
The Danger of Ignoring Your Sugar Cravings
I recently spoke to a new client who long believed that her sugar cravings were at the heart of her health concerns.
So, she ended up working with two sugar addiction specialists, functional medicine doctors, etc. all while her symptoms continued to get worse and worse, the more she fought it…
…all because she was ignoring the bigger and more important issue that her body had been trying to tell her all along.
Many hypothyroidism sufferers are being told to avoid all sugar, ignore their sugar cravings, and that they will eventually resolve themselves.
While this may help to decrease your sugar cravings, it comes at a significant price of your thyroid health.
We’ve already covered that hypothyroidism leads to hypoglycemia and low blood sugar.
But what you might not know is that hypoglycemia directly stimulates ACTH production by your hypothalamus, which directly activates your adrenal glands to secrete the stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline.
In other words, if you crave sugar and ignore those cravings, then you’re forcing your body to overproduce stress hormones in order to raise your blood sugar.
And those stress hormones directly block your thyroid function at multiple levels.
If you continue to ignore those cravings, then cortisol and adrenaline are continuously overproduced while your cravings eventually subside…
…but only after the stress hormones have already ruined your thyroid health in the process.
How to Successfully Stop Sugar Cravings without Ruining Your Thyroid
If sugar cravings are caused by hypoglycemia and an inability to efficiently delivery sugar to your cells, then it’s only logical to do what we can to correct the issues at hand.
So, here are four simple ways to do just that while improving your thyroid function at the same time.
1. Don’t Eat Protein Alone
Many practitioners are suggesting that eating protein is more effective at regulating blood sugar than carbohydrates.
But, that’s a big mistake.
Eating protein alone actually has the opposite effect, and causes an insulin rush, which can lead to a blood sugar crash, as Dr. Raymond Peat points out.
“Insulin release is also stimulated by amino acids such as leucine, and insulin stimulates cells to absorb amino acids and to synthesize proteins. Since insulin lowers blood sugar as it disposes of amino acids, eating a large amount of protein without carbohydrate can cause a sharp decrease in blood sugar.”
– Dr. Raymond Peat
Eating protein alone, causing your blood sugar to drop lower, results in the same activation of your stress response and suppression of your thyroid.
It’s essential to eat protein with carbohydrate to prevent protein from disrupting your blood sugar even further.
2. Use Fruit and Healthy Sugars Instead of Starches and Complex Carbohydrates
Many practitioners are also suggesting that carbohydrates should not be used to regulate blood sugar because they also stimulate insulin.
But that’s a very poor assumption because not all carbohydrates are created equal.
Starches like breads and pastas are made up of entirely glucose, which CAN strongly stimulate insulin and result in a drop in blood sugar.
This goes for complex carbohydrates too.
However, using fruits and sugars that contain fructose work very differently.
Fructose actually inhibits the insulin response caused by glucose.
In other words, using fruits and other healthy forms of sugar, like honey, don’t cause an insulin surge or your blood sugar to crash, and can be used very effectively to help regulate blood sugar.
3. Adjust Your Fat Accordingly
It is important to include fat in your diet.
And the type of fat you eat is extremely important, as some directly suppress your thyroid at all five levels of your Thyroid Hormone Pathway.
(Note: Want to know what fats you should be avoiding and which you should be using? Check out this article on “The Worst Food for Your Thyroid (and Doctors Claim It’s “Essential” to Your Health)”.)
But, fats can also be used to slow down your rate of digestion.
So, those who struggle more with regulating blood sugar can use more fat in their meals initially to help sustain blood sugar for longer.
You can also use more or less fat at specific meals for more therapeutic effects.
For example, using more fat at a meal before bedtime can help sustain blood sugar longer during sleep.
This can help prevent the extremely common drop in blood sugar most hypothyroidism sufferers experience during the night which can cause insomnia and night waking.
(Note: Want to sleep better and longer throughout the night? Check out this article on “How to End Insomnia and Wake Up Refreshed with Hypothyroidism”).
4. Focus on Smaller More Frequent Meals
Studies have shown that even sucrose (table sugar) effectively stops your body’s thyroid-suppressive stress response and normalizes healthy energy production.
A new perspective on glucocorticoid feedback: relation to stress, carbohydrate feeding and feeling better.
“Much of what has precipitated this view comes from a very surprising finding in our laboratory; sucrose ingestion normalizes feeding, energy balance and central corticotropin releasing factor expression in adrenalectomized (ADX) rats.”
Yet, the research also tells us that regulating your blood sugar and keeping your stress response low has more to do with the frequency of sugar consumption and less about the amount.
So, using fruit and other healthy sugars more frequently throughout your day is always best.
Using these four quick and simple recommendations can help improve your blood sugar handling and thyroid function very quickly.
If you’re not using them already, then you need to get started now.
You see, there’s a lot more to restoring your thyroid health than most realize.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult by any means.
That’s why we’ve taken this complete and comprehensive approach and broken it down into a simple step-by-step formula.
That’s how we help our clients overcome their thyroid issues for good.
Overcoming Your Hypothyroidism Is So Much Better Than Trying to Live With It
Here’s why this systematic approach works so well.
- You fix every underlying cause of your thyroid issue… you just need to properly address every part of your Thyroid Hormone Pathway.
- You put an end to the continuous hypothyroid cycle that you’re trapped in… instead of watching it worsen to the point that it becomes unbearable.
- You’ll correct the underlying issues responsible for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis… even if you’re not sure if you have it.
- You’ll regain control of your health and can and live without limitations… which is something that most only dream about.
- You don’t have to be a medical student to follow it… in fact the less misinformation you’ve been exposed to the better.
There are a lot of books and advice out there that focus on a single aspect of thyroid health. And others that help you make the best of a life limited by thyroid issues.
But this daily protocol shows you how to start to start getting real results. It’s a super simple way to start every day right and full of energy.
1. Lindemann , Bella. “6 Scientific Reasons We Crave Sugar (And How to Beat It).” Bella Lindemann, 1 Feb. 2017, bellalindemann.com/why-do-i-crave-sugar/.
2. DeFigio, Dan. “Hypothyroid Disease and Sugar Addiction.” Dummies, www.dummies.com/health/nutrition/hypothyroid-disease-and-sugar-addiction/.
3. Everyday Health. “Quitting Sugar Saved My Thyroid: Sarah Wilson’s Story.” EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health, 13 Jan. 2014, www.everydayhealth.com/columns/my-health-story/quitting-sugar-saved-my-thyroid-sarah-wilsons-story/.