*The desire for sweets after dinner may result from the need for a nutritious meal.
*Constant cravings for sweets may also result from health problems such as insulin resistance or nutrient deficiencies.
*If you continuously crave sweets, consulting a doctor and undergoing appropriate tests is worth it.
The desire for sweets after dinner may signal that this meal's composition requires modification. Specifically, your meals are not nutritious; therefore, they cannot
adequately satisfy your appetite and make your body quickly ask for more.
You must know that the body is used to obtaining energy from three essential macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent, also from dietary
fibre (although the matter is more complicated here). The point is that these ingredients are not only a source of calories but also perform other functions - often already
at the stage of the meal passing through the digestive tract and its digestion. Therefore, a complete meal becomes essential, i.e., one containing protein, fat, fibre, and
the so-called complex carbohydrates. Only a meal that includes sources of all these ingredients will optimally extend the time the meal passes through the digestive tract
and stimulate the hormones responsible for the feeling of satiety.
Let me give you an example of a full-fledged dinner: you will find a source of complex carbohydrates (e.g. groats, rice, pasta or potatoes), protein (e.g. meat, fish, egg or
legumes), fat (e.g. a bit of olive oil, oil or avocado) and fibre (a large portion of vegetables!). Complex carbohydrates (i.e. the essential energy for the body) ensure the
even absorption of glucose over time, fibre additionally slows down this process, fat makes the entire meal move slower in the digestive tract, and protein stimulates the
body to produce satiety hormones. The machine works perfectly; you feel full after dinner and don't like eating extra sweets.
What about a non-wholesome meal? Let's say you eat sausages with ketchup and mustard for dinner. There is no point in looking for a source of complex
carbohydrates or fibre here - which means that the whole "digestion and absorption" machine is starting to go out of tune. The lack of complex carbohydrates means
the body does not get glucose, the primary energy source. And this, in turn, is a signal for the body to ask for this glucose quickly. Where can you find fast-absorbing
glucose? Yes - in sweets, that's why you crave them. Therefore, if you quickly feel like craving sweets after dinner, check whether your main meal contains all the
ingredients listed above, and if not, try to supplement it accordingly.
Are you trying to eat a nutritious dinner, consuming vegetables and complex carbohydrates, and yet you can't cope with the craving for sweets? It is worth consulting a
doctor and performing appropriate tests in this situation. Craving sweets may signal that your body is not functioning correctly. Specifically, you need help managing the
glucose present after a meal.
Diseases that cause uncontrolled cravings for sweets include insulin resistance, reactive hypoglycemia, diabetes and prediabetes, so it is worth performing appropriate
tests in such situations (i.e. glucose and insulin concentration, glucose tolerance test, HOMA-IR). Constant cravings for sweets may also indicate that your body is
deficient in nutrients - specifically, iron, magnesium or B vitamins. Deficiencies in these ingredients lead to fatigue and problems with converting macronutrients into
energy - once again. Therefore, The body will strive to provide quickly available power, which sweets provide. Solution? Supplement your diet with whole grain cereal
products (groats, wholemeal bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta), nuts and seeds, cocoa and legumes.
Do you remember from childhood when your parents said that for eating the entire dinner, you would be rewarded with your favourite dessert? Or do you remember all
the pleasant occasions when someone gave you sweets? The brain associates sweets with pleasure! There are several reasons for this state of affairs. However, the
two most important are the association of sweets with reward and good emotions, i.e. a habit acquired in childhood, and the evolutionary adaptation of the brain to look
for sweet foods (for our ancestors, sweet fruit and honey were a safe and calorie-filled food source).
No wonder we habitually reach for sweets after a "salty" meal. This is the most elusive and challenging to eliminate because of the desire for sweets after dinner: after
all, its roots lie deep in our brains. However, "the most difficult" does not mean "impossible" - because working on changing habits requires patience. However, with the
right help, it is possible. In such a situation, it is a good idea to seek the help of an experienced dietitian/psycho-dietician who will help you find the best solution to the
problem - and make changes using the small-step method. Also, remember that the desire for sweets after dinner does not have to be a fundamentally wrong thing - and
if you cannot imagine life without dessert, include it in your diet in a planned and controlled way - e.g. as an additional sweet meal (afternoon snack).