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Does craving sweets mean I have diabetes?
November 19th, 2010
05:53 PM ET

Does craving sweets mean I have diabetes?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I've been craving sweets lately. Could that mean I have diabetes?

A: Nope. Craving sugar is not one of the symptoms of diabetes or hyperglycemia (too much blood glucose). Symptoms to look for are frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, weight loss, and blurry vision. If you skip meals often, you may be experiencing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. When your blood sugar starts to dip, you naturally long for a sugary snack to get it back up.

To break the cravings cycle, stick to three or more healthy meals a day—no skipping! Blowing off a meal can cause your blood sugar to drop and your body to seek a sugary solution.

Roshini Raj, M.D., is Health magazine’s medical editor and co-author of “What the Yuck?!.” Board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, Raj is also an assistant professor of medicine at New York University Medical Center and a contributor on the “Today” show.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. youaredumb

    Does reading this mean I'm really bored?

    Indeed it does. Way to burn pixels CNN.

    It is incredible how far your journalistic prowess has fallen in such a short time.

    November 19, 2010 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • C-man

      yep

      November 19, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      QQ more?

      November 20, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • evoc

      Nah...means ya wanted to know.

      November 20, 2010 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
    • Terrie

      You saw the headline; you clicked it; you read the article, and now you're mad at CNN because the article was not up to your journalistic standards. I'm not clear on the concept yet. Let me see how it goes... I make a choice to read an article, and then I should complain about the author of the article when I am unhappy about the quality of the article. Wrong!! Stop complaining and accept responsibility for your own choices – the good ones and the bad.

      November 21, 2010 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
  2. agrippina

    Please, make sure you are not eating a cookie or some candy to get the blood sugar back up... that will only cause your body to release too much insulin to bring the blood sugar back down causing a "crash" where you will feel dizzy and nauseous and crave sweets yet again. Too much of this up and down cycle and you've got diabetes. Eat some protein and fat!

    November 20, 2010 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ME

      Excellent advice and very true. So many people think you need to rush for sugar when your sugar levels drop, but that's the last thing you want!

      November 22, 2010 at 04:25 | Report abuse |
    • craig

      Something whole grain may be a better choice for low glucose. Try an apple, 15-25 grams of carbs and lots of other good stuff like pectin and fiber.

      November 22, 2010 at 06:12 | Report abuse |
  3. leah

    please pass this around so it can somehow make it to Dr. Gupta. No it is not a fake, this is real life! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU29dM_rKXM

    November 20, 2010 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Odalice feliz

    We need to help America fight obesity and malnutrition that lead to diabetes.

    November 20, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A. Nony

      Yawn. If people want to eat junk, sit on their bums and get fat, let them. If they want to smoke and get lung cancer, let them. The same 25% of people who still smoke are probably the same 25% who think the sun revolves around the earth once a day (actual result from a poll.) As for the societal costs - they are in all liklihood overestimated.

      November 20, 2010 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      A. Nony, a large number of people who get lung cancer are non-smokers. Many people who eat healthy and exercise get diabetes anyway, due to genetics or for unknown reasons. Why are you so judgmental?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Sugar2Hi

      Exactly. Sometimes people don't have a choice. I have been a clinical health educator for 12 years, exercise physiologist and athlete. Never drank, smoke, etc. 7 years ago i was dx with type 1 and require insulin. I continue to run marathons and everything, but my lifestyle had nothing to do with it, just good ole genetics. While type 2 often responds well to lifestyle changes like nutrition, exercise, weightloss, etc. Type 1s simply don't produce sufficient insulin.

      November 21, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse |
  5. RickSanchezPR

    I crave Brooke...
    She is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!

    Oh great now I am unemployed and diabetic.....

    It is time for Los fotos.........

    tweet me at RickSanchezPR

    November 20, 2010 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Ed

    Humans did not evolve to eat 3 big meals per day. Our ancestors typically ate once per day, or once every few days, with light snacks in between. It's not healthy for most people, especially if they are sedentary, to eat 3 big meals per day. Try eating one meal per day, with very light nibbles in between. Constantly flooding your body with sugar from big meals 3 times per day (remember, all food whether fat, protien or carbs, is eventually broken down into sugars), is a recipe for diabetes.

    November 20, 2010 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lioness

      Where are you getting this information?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • ME

      I hope no one takes this unhealthy advice. Your body starts eating itself if you don't eat often enough! And, as a pregnant woman, that advice would leave me constantly sick and fatigued even more so than with a normal person.

      November 22, 2010 at 04:27 | Report abuse |
  7. waow

    Gimme sugar. Waow. So much unecessary bull to read round here. Funny comments

    November 20, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. momma wombat

    @Nona: The same 25% who still smoke are the same 25% who believe that the sun revolves around the Earth? How pathetic. When will you silly non smokers realize that smokers know what they are doing to their bodies because we are reminded daily by nitwits such as yourself? Let us destroy our bodies in peace! Give me my hazy smoke cloud any day as long as I don't have to listen to the rest of you spewing your so called alturistic motives in your concern for my health and well-being. Leave me alone already! Why are you so concerned about me, anyway? I am not unaware, in denial, or otherwise inferior because I smoke. My choice is my choice,and shouldn't be yours. Besides, I would put money on the fact that you have some nasty habits yourself that would probably include alturism, narrowmindedness, and bedwetting.

    November 20, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rob

      Because when you are old, medicare is paying for your medical treatments. yea, we pay for that...that's why, stupid.

      November 21, 2010 at 08:46 | Report abuse |
    • A. Nony

      I thought I made it clear that I simply don't care (that what's YAWN means: don't care) whether people smoke or not. I think you are stupid to smoke, but I don't care. I also said that I think the societal costs are overstated. Statistically, smokers die younger than non-smokers and so draw less in Social Security. And, statistically, the last year of life is the is the most expensive with respect to Medicare - and, DUH, everyone has a last year of life. Thus, the Medicare costs of smoking and obesity are likely to be overstated. So, light up! I really, really don't care what you do to yourself. And, even though you may know some kindergarden astronomy, I still think there is a big overlap between smokers and people who know essentially nothing about anything except popular culture.

      November 21, 2010 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
  9. momma wombat

    P.S. That was directed at A. Nony, not Nona. My mistake, and apologies,

    November 20, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. meh

    I snort sugar.

    November 21, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. fx

    Early sign of depression. chug some H20 and go for a run. Winter is a bleach.

    November 21, 2010 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Ed,

    I agree that we did not evolve to eat 3 meals per day. However, protein and fats do not break down into sugar. Proteins break down into amino acids during the digestion process, and fat molecules just break down into smaller fat molecules.

    November 21, 2010 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • digs

      wrong.
      Gluconeogenesis – meaning, "the creation of a new form of glucose" – is the process of making glucose (sugar) from its own breakdown products or from the breakdown products of lipids (fats) or proteins.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
  13. Peace and Animals

    @momma wombat: Thank you! You took the words right out of my mouth.

    November 21, 2010 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. digs

    wrong Dr. Gupta.
    polyphagia, a condition in which a person eats too much of every kind of food due to increased appetite, INCLUDING sweets/carbs IS a sign of diabetes.
    you don't know what you're talking about.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lioness

      It's not a typical sign of diabetes, digs. Besides, the question wasn't about a big increase in overall appetite.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • digs

      wrong Lioness. polyphagia IS a typical sign of diabetes, and it can include cravings for all foods including sweets.

      November 21, 2010 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I agree - posted my personal experience below!

      November 22, 2010 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
  15. digs

    the reason for this is that body is not using the glucose in the blood making the person's body think it is actually hypoglycemic, when it is hyperglycemic, and makes them hungry for all kinds of food including carbs to raise their blood sugar, even though it's ALREADY high, but the body can't see it. so it's a vicious cycle.

    November 21, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ME

      You are off with your terms here. Eating too much sugar can actually lead to hypoglycemia. Hypo meaning too low. This happens because the body reacts with too much insulin when it is inundated with too much sugar. So, with reactive hypOglycemia, sugar drives the blood sugar lower and causes hunger despite having just eaten.

      November 22, 2010 at 04:31 | Report abuse |
  16. galina12

    The increased crewing for sweets is not the diabetes yet but a sure sign that blood sugar regulation is getting out of order and you are getting more close to metabolic syndrome first than to the diabetes. If you are hungry in 2 hours after meal -you ate smth. wrong for you. I believe modern fasting blood sugar level are wrong. Based on my family experience – perfect fasting BS is 70 – 79, normal – between 80 and 87, more than 90 is definitely wrong.

    November 21, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ME

      It is not a "sure sign" of impending diabetes. Sugar cravings can affect someone the same way alcohol cravings will. If someone has a tendency to be addicted to alcohol, they can easily seek the same feelings from sugar because they are processed similarly within the body.

      November 22, 2010 at 04:33 | Report abuse |
  17. MJB

    Most people that have lung cancer smoke or have smoked. Yes, some people get CA that don't smoke. But most do. Being very overweight and our way of eating leads to diabetes and other factore. These last two medical conditions cost you and me billions a year in medical costs. Have seen so many patients that have died just with these two conditions. Really sad. And many that smoke don't want to quit. And when they can't hardly breathe anymore and suffer greatly then they want your help. Then its too late.

    November 21, 2010 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. CBenji

    My mother hate smoking, and got lung cancer. She was one of those people who couldn't stand the smell of it. Then it turned out she had a large cell lung cancer, and she went very quickly. People who get lung cancer from smoking usually have a fighting chance. My father got diabetes in his 80's, and so does everyone who make it to their 80's. He never had it before at all. So I guess you never know.

    November 21, 2010 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ACTA

    Wow, this fluff gets space and still not ONE report on the ACTA treaty! I guess CNN and the other large media organizations are pushing for ACTA so they WONT REPORT ON IT.

    A massive new invasion of privacy and attack on the freedom of information exchange, held in meetings behind locked doors with the public locked out and CNN doesn't report it, but they have room for this!

    Please if you value the first amendment read up on ACTA.

    I recently wrote BOTH the republican and Democratic senator from my area and got THE EXACT SAME REPLY WORD FOR WORD! It must have been written for them! Go to EFF, ACLU or any of the many consumer organizations who oppose this massive change in international and US law and get informed.

    November 21, 2010 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Linda

    I disagree! One of my most obvious symptoms, before being diagnosed with Diabetic Ketoacidosis. was SUGAR CRAVING! And I was not a big sweet person, before. I only wish I had known this - I landed in the hospital for two days!

    November 22, 2010 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Mike

    Lol, no but youre probably preggers.

    November 22, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. razzlea

    check out my blog! http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    November 22, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • galina12

      Just checked the blog. Nothing worth reading , the same tired low fat song from diet past, pizza recipe as a healthy food example.

      November 22, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  23. RazzleDazzle

    oh wow ! d:

    November 22, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Gabriel

    CRAVING SUGAR MEANS YOU LACK DIGESTIVE FLORA (PROBIOTICS). You can email me if you really want to know why. Too much to explain unless someone really cares to know. g a b e AT h u s h DOT c o m

    November 22, 2010 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. comeoncourage

    oh boy.

    November 23, 2010 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. crystal

    I enjoy this. It's wonderful knowing I can crave my sweets and still eat them!

    Click Here!

    February 28, 2012 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.