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Craving sugar, sweets, chocolate anxiety symptom

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: September 26, 2019


craving sugar sweets high calorie foods anxiety symptoms image

Craving sugar, sweets, chocolate, and high calorie foods can be symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

To see if anxiety might be playing a role in your anxiety symptoms, rate your level of anxiety using our free one-minute instant results Anxiety Test or Anxiety Disorder Test. The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including craving sugar and sweets.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and a craving for sugar, sweets, chocolate, and high calorie foods.

Craving sugar, sweets, chocolate, and high calorie food anxiety symptoms descriptions:

  • You have an increased craving for high-calorie foods, such as sweets, chocolate, pastries, and foods high in carbohydrates. Although you normally have a “sweet tooth,” these cravings are unusually persistent.
  • It seems you desire high sugar foods, and more so than normal.
  • You have a strong craving to eat, and especially foods high in calories.
  • Even though you eat a full meal or ingest raw sugar foods, such as candy bars, pastries, cakes, chocolate, soft drinks, and fruit juices, a short while later you are craving more.
  • You are persistently hungry. Even though you ate only a short time ago, you are hungry again, and what you are craving most are high-calorie foods, such as sugars and sweets.

Craving high-calorie foods can seem stronger when undistracted, resting, or during leisure activities.

Why does anxiety cause craving sugar, sweets, chocolate, and high carb foods?

Stress taxes the body's energy resources much harder than normal. When the body runs low on energy, it demands to be refueled with high energy (raw sugar) foods, which can be quickly converted to blood sugar (which the body uses for fuel).

This is why when we are chronically stressed, we crave raw sugar foods such as sugar, sweets, chocolate, and high calorie foods. As the body's overall level of stress increases, so can the demand for craving sugar, sweets, chocolate, 'junk' foods, and raw sugar foods.

In fact, having an increased craving for sugar, sweets, chocolate, high calorie, and junk foods is often an early indication of escalating anxiety and stress.[1][2]

We explain this symptom in more detail in the Recovery Support area of our website, including additional causes and more information about how to stop the cravings.

Fortunately, we can reduce and eliminate these types of cravings by containing our anxiousness and reducing stress.

For a more detailed explanation about all anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


Additional Resources:


Return to Anxiety Disorders Symptoms section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including why anxiety can cause a craving for sugar.


REFERENCES:

1. Yau, Yvonne H.C., et al. “Stress and Eating Behaviors.” Edizioni Minerva Medica, Sept. 2013; 38(3): 255–267

2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Why Stress Causes People to Overeat.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing.