Nutrition tips

why do we crave sugar in winter?

November 27 , 2019
Bara’a Haikal
Clinical nutritionist graduated from Hashemite university in Jordan, she is certified for many training courses including nutrition for diabetic cases...More

It’s winter and many of us find ourselves drawn to bowls of pasta, pudding and hot chocolate.

This food makes us feel happy and comfortable! why we crave them in winter more than summer?

  1. So many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, when we experience cooler temperature,  fewer daylight hours, less exercise and more hours spent at home in the winter season, our bodies react to regulate the temperature inside by burning extra calories,

it may be part of our biology that is subject to seasonal change and temperature drop.

  1. Coming in from frigid outside temperature makes anything warm seems more appealing.
  2. Decreased exposure to sunlight lowers the level of mood boosting hormone “serotonin”, because carbohydrate increases the production of serotonin so it’s natural to find yourself reaching for starchy and sugary food for a quick mood boost.
  3. Lifestyle change in winter, the cold weather outside makes us spend more time at home. This put us around food more than usual, and that makes mindless snacking are more likely.

So how do you stay warm and satisfied without getting overweight in winter?

"To satisfy both your body and mind, seek out comfort foods that fill your belly, warm you up, and make you feel good — but are also good for you,” says Ellie Krieger, a nutritionist.

  1. Eat full meals: take your 3 meals and snacks regularly without skipping any meal to get calories you need.
  2. Start your day with a healthy slow release breakfast, which will keep you full of energy until lunch. Warming oats are a great way to start your morning, try topping with nuts and some seasonal winter fruit like apples, pears or dates.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables, high source of vitamins and minerals that boost your immune system. Also, they are good source of fiber that makes you feel full for long time.
  4. Eat your food slowly which helps you feel full for longer time.
  5. Stay hydrated: consume 8 glasses of water per day that help in regulating your body’s temperature
  6. Hot food: drinking something hot increases the sensation of being warm: drinking herbs, tea, soups (with oats, chicken or root vegetables) and cocoa drink tend to be particularly satisfying.
  7. Swap sugary food for healthy food that give you sweetness like:
    • dates: keep you warm and prevent cold- related illness.
    •  sweet potato: gives you sweetness you need, it is also rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
    •  dried fruits: it can generate heat in your body and it is rich in nutrients.
  8. Healthy fat to add to your diet like nuts, avocado, olives and fish.
  9. Switch to complex carbs including whole grain bread, rice and pasta and whole oats.
  10. Lighten up, try getting outside for a walk in the sunniest part of the day, that will help you increase the serotonin level in your body and boost your mood.