Reasons You are Addicted to Carbohydrates… And Why You Should Reduce Your Carb Intake

Addiction is defined as a condition where a person starts depending on a substance and experiences cravings in the absence of substance. The brain has a limbic system which controls our behaviour and emotions as well as motivation and long-term memory. Sugar and refined carbs can quickly become addictive, and according to research conducted on humans, some say that sugar is more rewarding when compared to cocaine.

Carbohydrate addiction is also referred to as craving, compelling hunger or a desire to eat foods which are rich in carbohydrates, a recurring, escalating drive or need for junk food, snack food, starches or sweets. If you want to reduce your carb intake, it’s a good idea to jump on the keto bandwagon. With tons of delicious recipes and food alternatives the keto diet may just be something for you! 

Why is it so hard to resist carbs? Here are the top reasons:


When you consume excessive amounts of carbs for a long time, your body may find it difficult to balance the levels of your blood sugar. The cells do not respond to the insulin produced by the body to deal with glucose. This is referred to as Insulin Resistance. Due to this, the body starts producing more insulin to balance out the sugar levels in your blood. It leads to intense cravings and frequent hunger to consume more carbs and feed the excessive amounts of insulin.

Hypoglycemia results in symptoms such as dizziness, irritability, racing pulse, trembling, anxiety, sweating, confusion, and weakness. Severe symptoms such as poor coordination and coma may occur in extreme cases.


Carbohydrates stimulate the brain which causes the release of dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals result in cravings for carbs while you are stressed, feeling sad or cold during the winter months for example. We start relying on carbohydrates for stress relief and comfort which is usually provided by neural pathways. The reduction in insulin levels helps the brain to control the neurotransmitters which result in carb cravings.


Hypothyroidism results in extreme fatigue which stimulates the person to crave for sugar or carbs. Similarly, adrenals which are either super stressed or tired may result in carb cravings. When your body is hyper active, carbohydrates are utilized for energy. The stress hormone i.e. cortisol is released which balances the body by stimulating an individual to feel hungry and refuel the body. Additionally, people can check their thyroid levels at home with an At Home Thyroid Test. People will need to collect a sample – usually a finger prick blood sample – and send it off to a laboratory, getting their results within a few working days.


Carb cravings and less sleep are both synonyms according to research. The University of Chicago conducted a study which proved there is an increased level of ghrelin and decreased the level of leptin hormone when an individual is deprived of sleep.

Ghrelin hormone sends signals to the brain that makes you feel hungry while leptin hormone sends signals to the brain that your stomach is full. Studies indicate that individuals who slept for only 6 hours consume more calorie-rich foods ex. Carbohydrates when compared to the individual who slept for more than 8 hours. So, make sure you catch enough Zzzz to reduce weight and choose healthy diet plans.


Depression and anxiety are common mental illnesses which most of us have experienced during our life. Carb food serves as a great source for relieving depression and anxiety. Carbs stimulate the brain to release seretonin which make you feel good.


Insulin resistance is usually found in women at times during their life cycle due to the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone hormones. Insulin production suddenly spikes and results in intense cravings especially for carbs and sweets. The key factor for carb addiction is a hormonal imbalance.


If you want to avoid carbs, then you might want to follow a diet such as the keto diet – if so, follow one of the better keto guides such as this one.

Physical and mental health plays an essential role in carb addiction. Carb addiction is tough to treat as the above-mentioned reasons cannot be solved easily but it is by all means doable if you adopt a healthy lifestyle along with a balanced diet. Carbs addiction may lead to multiple issues which include Diabetes, Obesity, and overweight. Therefore, thus the body needs a certain amount of carbs to function properly, you should adopt a low-carb diet. 

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into her morning brew.