I'm usually good at eating paleo during the day. Late at night is when cravings for sugar/carbs really kick in. If I give in I feel awful the next day, so clearly it isn't good for me. Any thoughts on why it's consistently in the evenings? Or how to more effectively combat it?
The same happens to me. During the working hours and until 8 PM I have no problem but after 8 I start to crave sugar. The interesting part is that I never craved sugar before in my life. I tried many times just to eat more low carb stuff but it doesn't help. I didn't yet investigate coconut oil since I recently found out some people use it for cravings.
Now, black chocolate usually satisfies my cravings, but recently I was using 1 standard ice cream. It stops my craving ASAP and nothing really changed, I even started to lose weight. Sinc most of the day I don't eat a lot of carbs, with that ice cream providing like 25g of carbs I am still low carb.
Science tells us that its probably not so bad to eat sugar at the evening. Salivary amylase is at its lowest which means digestion is not very efficient and it boosts serotonin which is needed for good sleep as it is precursor to melatonin.
You could try 5-HTP supplement which is usually used to stop it, but now, after reading more aobout tryptophan, I am not sure its such a good idea.
So, I suggest you indulge your craving, not overeat sugar ofc, and see how it goes. Try to find some quality stuff, like chestnut paste or good ice cream with lots of fat and no trans fats etc... there are good carbs out there. If nothing else, use 30-50g 7o% dark chocolate as it is sweat enough and still valuable nutrient.
I remember mentioning this book to you before, but I'll do it again: Lights Out. It has a theory on food cravings and sleep. It has been a while since I've read it, thus, I don't remember the specifics but basically, it goes something like this:
Okay, I found a section in the book that will spell it out (page 90-91):
When you're tired, you really are experiencing massive metabolic derangement between you and the bacteria controlling your immune system and reproduction, which is translating to mental abberations.
Short nights that mimic summer mean:
- Reduced melatonin secretion, which reduces white cell immune function;
- A severe reduction in the most potent antioxidant you have- melatonin;
- Less prolactin at night and way too much in the daytime (prolactin secretion at night means more and stronger NK and T cells. Prolactin secretion during the day means autoimmunity and carbohydrate cravings).
But the biggest problem with short nights year-round, beyond appetite derangement, is that insulin will stay higher during the dark, when it should be flat, and cortisol falls so late it won't come up normally in the morning. This is a reversal of normal hormonal rhythyms. You should wake up with elevated cortisol to deal with the stress during the day. You should wake up hungry with low insulin and cortisol rising. Instead, your cortisol is low and your insulin is still up.
And it goes on and on, the take home message? Going to sleep when the lights go out (i.e. sundown) and waking up when lights come back on should help reduce cravings. Though, this might not be an easily enacted solution to your problem ....
My guess is that your brain is still used to treating stress with sugar/carbs. I'd recommend looking into ways to manage stress and/or reduce cortisol levels. I particularly like assisted meditation ... i.e., listening to classical music for 20 minutes as a regular practice.
I eat 4 eggs and 2 tbsp of butter for breakfast. Meat instead of eggs would work as well. This breakfast should help with the cravings later on.
Also go to bed earlier. Grehlin levels ramp from the time of your last meal. late at night they get very high. Go to bed early and avoid the issue all together. You need at least 7.5 hours of sleep anyways...
Few things, how long have you been eating "paleo"? You might be going through the low carb flu which for some people never occurs and others can be experienced for as long as a month.
I would make sure you are eating enough fat. I know for me, when I first started I was still afraid, or not used to including fat into my diet on purpose. If you can tolerate diary, full fat greek yogurt is a great snack. You can add in some berries to help w/ your cravings and since berries are not as high in sugar as compared to other fruits, can help with getting you out of your addiction.
Your body is adjusting, so just make sure you are still supplying it with energy. The difference is that energy now should be coming from fat. Your body is still used to burning sugar for most of its energy demands.
If your craving carbs and sugar at night while watching tv for instance, try an apple. Some are not good on fruit due to fructose however if like me your able to process it without too much ado then they make great snack food. Other tv nibbles include strong cheese on almond & butter biscuits, topped with slice of strawberry. Have fun making up your own treats, just stay clear of the processed rubbish. Once free of sugar addiction, foods that once seemed mundane and boring are in actual fact simply great. For instance, I used to like nothing more than several chocolate biscuits with a cup of tea containing 2 heaped teaspoons of sugar. Now free from the addiction I enjoy even more a dish with a few pieces of chopped fruit, say apple n pear, a sprinkling of pecan nuts topped with real greek yoghurt and a dusting of cinnamon.
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