Meredith had finally made it to her favorite restaurant. She had eaten a rare filet mignon served on a scorching hot plate with bubbling melted butter. She was full and thought she would burst. Her present boyfriend sat across the table, Sam, wondering how she could eat so much. She thought he was worried if she was going to need a new dress size. After a few minutes, the waiter came by and asked about dessert. For some reason, she craved something sweet and it wasn’t Sam. She wanted sugar!…. and chocolate! She ordered a chocolate cake with a melted chocolate center to finish off her night. She said she would make up for it by skipping meals the next day. Sam knew it would be useless and ill advised to even question her logic. It would be painful either way.
Why do we like sugar so much? Especially after eating a 2000-calorie meal, why do we want more calories? And why does it have to be sweet? There is a basic human physiological answer to this. When we eat a large meal our intestinal tract has trouble absorbing all that food in a given time. The small intestine can only transport so many calories maximum per minute. The food is broken down into small fat particles, small sugars and small proteins (amino acids) that can be carried across the small intestinal lining into the blood and then into the liver. It is an amazing process but it does have its limits. Glucose, a basic sugar, can help absorption of food particles. Glucose can be transported by its own special mechanism and the small bowel lining’s capacity to absorb it is huge.When the small bowel is overwhelmed with calories it sends out a hormone transmitter, which goes directly to the brain screaming violently for sugar! The brain responds by “I’m not full but for some reason I want something sweet…. And I want it now! I don’t just want it I am going to chant sugar-sugar-sugar until you get in your car I will make you turn the wheel in a particular direction where a sweet ice cream shop can be found!”
Meredith, however, got the chocolate volcano cake and as she placed each morsel into her mouth, her eyes rolled back into her head like a hungry lion biting into a juicy piece of meat. Sam was wondering for a second if he could ever make her have that response. He quickly realized he needed not to think about it………..let her enjoy it. For some reason chocolate is desired by women because of estrogen. Men like chocolate but can ‘live without it.” Many women can’t seem to. Put a thick layer of chocolate on some chopped up weird fiber product and we will eat it!
- Sugars help absorb your food
- Chocolate consumption is driven by the female hormone estrogen
- Desserts make “physiological” sense
- Craving is often driven by hormones