Kill sugar cravings

If you indulged in sugar-rich desserts over the festive season, you may find that even though you have returned to normal eating, you crave sugary foods.  

Why does this happen?  You may be aware that the gut is often referred to as the 'second brain'.  This is because it communicates with the brain with hormones, neurotransmitters such as serontin (the'feel good' neurotransmitter) which can cross the blood-brain barrier and along a neural pathway known as the gut-brain axis which is throught to be primarily the vagus nerve. Many of the 'messages' are produced by the microbes that live in your gut.  For instance gut bacteria produce a chemical messenger similar to ghrelin, which stimulates appetite and peptide YY which sends a message to your brain that you have eaten enough.  

Problems occur when the gut microbes get out of balance.  Sugar feeds a yeast, normally present in the gut known as Candida albacans.  Where the diet is high in sugar, the yeast proliferates and more sugar cravings result to feed the increasing population of yeast.   It can be a vicious cycle - you eat sugar, the yeast grows, so you crave sugar.  Now this is unlikely to occur after a few sweet treats over the festive season only if you continue to indulge.  This doesn't mean you can't have sweet treats - there are many desserts and cakes on this blog with no added sugar for you to enjoy once you have restored your gut flora balance.

So how can you restore gut flora balance?  If you suspect you have a Candida proliferation (for example you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, IBS-like symptoms, difficulty losing weight, fungal infections etc) seek guidance from a nutritional therapist who can guide you through the stages of rebalancing your gut flora.  If you simply want to get you gut flora back into balance after the festive season I would recommend a good probiotic to repopulate your gut with beneficial bacteria.  Also eat prebiotic foods such as onions, bananas, oats, apples and flaxseed.  Prebiotics feed the 'friendly' bacteria in your gut.  

Having a balanced gut flora can help weight loss in other ways too.  For instance the gut bacteria produce B vitamins that can be utilised by your body.  B vitamins help reduce stress which can lead to comfort eating.  As mentioned above the gut is where up to 90% of the body's 'feel good' hormone serontin is made and when you feel good, you are less likely to resort to comfort eating.

As if all this wasn't exciting enough, did you know that the gut flora are able to influence neuroplastiity (the ability to create new neural pathways) in the brain which can in turn help you create better eating habits.

Stay healthy, stay happy,

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