The Science-Backed Reasons Behind Cravings And How To Rewire Them

We Associate Sweets With Sadness

A couple eats pizza happily.
Massimo Sestini/Mondadori via Getty Images
Massimo Sestini/Mondadori via Getty Images

If you’ve ever craved sweets while feeling down, you’re not alone. Many people associate certain tastes with specific emotions. In 2015, research in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that sweet cravings often arise from low levels of cortisol. Cortisol regulates emotional stress.

Essentially, low levels of cortisol can make people feel stressed or sad. When we eat sugar, we receive a cortisol spike. As a result, many people suddenly crave sweets when they feel overwhelmed.