As per Ayurveda we need all 6 tastes (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent) in each meal….
If your food is well balanced in all 6 tastes, you would never ever crave anything after a well-balanced, satisfying meal… Instead, you would feel relaxed & satisfied! You would feel bliss saturating your soul!
What’s happening nowadays is that people mostly rely on fast food, frozen meals, fried foods or overly spiced meals. This creates an imbalance in our Doshas and leads to cravings for sweets!
If a food is too spicy or too oily it could aggravate the Pitta Dosha, that could lead to a burning sensation in the stomach or even acid reflux for some! At the emotional level, you could get those unwarranted feelings of anger and frustration! Did you know: Sweet taste pacifies Pitta?
Also, I am sure you would agree that we are living in a Vata dominated culture where everything is fast paced… We fail to sit down and enjoy our meals in a calm and relaxed and mindful way! We fail to register what we have eaten. Most of us have vitiated our Vata Dosha leading to those feelings of worry and anxiety! As per Ayurveda, sweet taste is the best way to calm excess Vata in the mind!
How cool is that! It’s our body’s innate intelligence making us crave sweets in order to bring our Doshas in balance! But the question is why do we allow our Doshas to go out of balance in the very first place?
Now Let’s see through the lens of a holistic nutritionist as to why do we crave sweets….
Sometimes meals that lead to blood-sugar imbalances could be the reason behind sugar cravings! For example, a meal comprised primarily of refined starchy foods that are quickly digested (e.g. white bread, white rice, refined cereals) will cause your blood glucose to spike after eating, as they are very high on the GI-glycemic index. Soon after eating, this glucose soar is followed by a drop, causing you to crave sugar. Try going for low GI (glycemic Index) foods like whole grains, whole legumes and lots of non-starchy vegetables!
At the level of hormones & neurotransmitters, sugar cravings may be due to low serotonin levels. Serotonin is a feel-good brain chemical that’s associated with an elevated mood. Eating a sugary dessert causes serotonin levels to rise in the brain, which can make you feel calmer and happier. Regular exercise is a better way to keep your serotonin levels balanced!
For many people, eating dessert after meals is just a habit, rather than a physiological sugar craving. It’s something you want versus something your body actually needs. Try breaking this habit!
In some cases, diets such as keto diets that ask for avoiding all sweets is the culprit behind sweet cravings. Denying yourself of the sweet taste can trigger intense cravings.
I personally feel that moderation is the key to good health! Include all six tastes in each meal and work on creating balanced meals that are TRI-DOSHIC (balancing for all 3 Doshas: VATA, PITTA & KAPHA).
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M.Sc., R.H.N., Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant
The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.