Why Sugar (& Jelly Babies) In Eating Disorder Recovery Is Vital!
Many of us in recovery experience strong & ongoing cravings for sugar & sweet foods.
This can happen at any stage of recovery but is often very strong in the early stages or if we have inadvertently gone into a greater energy deficit.
People are often fearful of sugar & if you have orthorexic tendencies then might have beliefs that sugar is the enemy (it is not) or that you can become ‘addicted’ to sugar (there really is no such thing!).
During my first few weeks of eating more food in recovery, all I wanted to eat & could think about were sweet goods… cakes, biscuits or cookies, chocolate, ice cream, iced buns, honey & chocolate spread, sweet cereals & so on!
I was much less drawn to savoury foods.
This makes sense if you think about it.
A malnourished body with little in the way of energy stores is going to seek energy in the purest form it can find… a form it can use immediately to send instant energy to keep the cells, organs & brain alive & functioning.
The body in this state cannot afford to spend time breaking down more complex food supplies – it has an agenda to keep alive.
Later the body system might start demanding other nutrients for other vital functions or repairs.
But often, sugar in its purest form is what the body needs – it can use it immediately.
The body is smart – the body knows this & that is why it sends messages via the brain to us to source & eat lots of sugary foods!
Once the body has a bit more fuel in the tank & can relax a bit it can afford to spend some time breaking down more complex carbohydrates (or other nutrients) into simpler forms and so then our pure sugar cravings might subside slightly.
Our job in recovery is not to question what the body & brain are asking from us.
It wants sugar for a reason…. we need to be brave enough to keep giving it sugary goods as long as it asks for it!
Later, when the body is doing other wise and wonderful things then cravings for other types of foods will hit -never judge, just provide!
And as long as we are providing the body what it needs we might as well enjoy it with childhood favourites!