Concussions to Sugar Cravings

So, I hit my head.  Hard.

It’s a stupid story, but let’s just say that the rest of last week didn’t go as expected.

Yes, it was our third wedding anniversary on Wednesday, and I started out the day feeling pretty good.  Being in the car was a little weird and I was making really spacey comments about how slow we were driving and how it made me feel like I was in a movie… but overall, we had a great day!  Market, coffee, nap, and an amazing dinner planned…

We made it to dinner.  We even really, really enjoyed dinner.  I’ll have to tell you all about it another time.

Because as soon as I stood up from my chair to leave the restaurant, it was like I was on a boat.  A boat on really rocky waters.  I was dizzy and nauseous, and by the time I got home I was a total wreck.

You don’t need all the gory details.  Let’s just say it all ended up with me wearing this bracelet that I never wanted to wear.

kels hospital braceletYep, that was me the morning after our wonderful anniversary dinner.  Waiting to get a CT scan at the Santa Monica ER because that bump on my head was most definitely part of a concussion and I just wanted to make sure I was alright.  You know, because not being able to think clearly and mixing up words in normal conversation gets a little scary.

Don’t mess with your brain, folks.

Turns out my brain was ok and I was sent home to rest and take care of myself.

Except that chocolate craving I had the night of the fated head collision with the dog?  It never went away.  I’m not even kidding when I say I think Gibson knocked a sugar sensor loose.  All I’ve been wanting to eat is sugar all day, every day.

So since Brad bought me a beautiful cake stand (complete with amazing dome! yay!!) for our anniversary, I couldn’t let it go empty.  Plus, having a recipe to concentrate on seemed to be helping my brain heal.  At least that’s what I’m going with, since everything turned out delicious.

This is what I’ve been making…

IMG_3248 IMG_3229 DSC_0987 DSC_0002DSC_0232DSC_0247With plans for many more sugary projects.

Have you ever heard of people craving sugar after a head injury?  I’ve Googled and Googled, and I can’t find anything that looks credible.  One doctor even gave a one word answer on his website: No. So maybe I can’t use brain swelling as an excuse to bake anymore?

Not that I needed an excuse in the first place.




14 thoughts on “Concussions to Sugar Cravings

  1. Hi, I got a concussion in January 2014 and I ate chocolate all week! I gained 15 pounds from it and I just wanted to tell you that the exact same thing happened to me!!! I hit my head hard again a few days ago and have been stuffing my face with chocolate again… So they totally could be related!

    • I’ve got a concussion and all I’ve been eating is sweats (and breakfast foods like waffles and others that you eat with syrup). When i got the concussion the dr. said that for a concussion to heal the brain is using extra glucose (sugar) to do so, it’s most likely related.

  2. I was assaulted at the weekend, and took a couple of heavy blows to my head. all seems OK after an xray, however ever since Ive been craving chocolate like nothing before. I rarely eat chocolate or sugary foods and i never have cravings for either.
    I’m Not sure if its the body needing sugar to help with the recovery process, or my body needing comfort food, but either way i cant stop eating it.

  3. Thanks for asking this question! I sustained a concussion about 2 months ago. Ever since, I’ve been absolutely compulsive about sugar and chocolate in particular. I find that my cravings go away if I can abstain for about three days, but if I eat so much as a spoonful of sugar, I’m back on the junk! I’ve found a few other references to the connections between cravings and concussions, but most of it is anecdotal. I do hope they lessen over time. Like the previous poster, I have gained 15 lbs! I do hope you have recovered fully by now. Anyway – nice blog & glad to know I’m not alone!

  4. It’s very difficult to find answers when it comes to concussions because they just aren’t out there yet. I think if your doctor definitively answers “no” to anything related to concussions, you may want to seek answers elsewhere. I got help from Cranial Sacral therapists and PTs, not your neurologists. I heard a concussion described as an “energy crisis” from a prominent neurologist who works with a well-known hockey team. This explanation may help.

    In conclusion, concussions are a common and complex occurance. The traumatic force of a concussion causes brain bruising, an “energy crisis” from the imbalance between glucose supply and demand, excess calcium, extracellular potassium, and disruption of the RAS and neurotransmitter levels. By these various mechanisms, the patient may experience dizziness, confusion, lack of coordination, amnesia, headache, nausea, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms.”

    • I’m with Noelle. The one thing the research over the last few years has shown (based on what I’ve read from the NIH website) is that much doctors thought they knew has been proven wrong. Therefore any doctor giving a definitive answer to anything is suspect.

      I have a concussion. Ordinarily I am very careful to eat very little sugar. I have a strong history of diabetes and I don’t want it.

      Day 12 my hands started shaking exactly like when I’m having hypoglycemia. Same with Day 13 and Day 14. Each time it stopped when I ate sugar and after that I had a sugary something each day.

      I looked at studies on the NIH database and brain metabolism IS impacted by concussion. I haven’t found anything suggesting we should actually eat sugar or whether the glucose we are eating is helping our brains heal. I also have no idea for how long we should eat sugar. I am not sure the research is at that point yet.

  5. Hey! I’ve been going through the exact same thing. Sugar cravings for weeks since my concussion. It’s so strange. I’m hoping it will stop once I fully recover. It’s nice to know it happened to someone else- thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Oh My Lord,
    So happy to read everyone’s comments.
    It’s been 3 weeks since my concussion and I’ve been waking in the night as the cravings are so bad.
    I usually only eat chocolate (and need it) once a month but at the moment its constant!
    The darker and richer the better. Left during a theatre play the other night to run 3 blocks to the supermarket! I was starting to think it was all in my head – no pun intended. 🙂

  7. This morning I face planted on the hard, tile floor. I had blacked out prior, but the sickening loud sound of skull to floor was heard by my daughter on the first floor. That said, I have a concussion. It’s been 5 hours, went through all of the symptoms. Once the nausea stopped, I immediately started craving sugar. All I can think of is a hot fudge sundae with half being the the fudge. I’m literally suffering more from the sugar craving than my splitting headache. It’s so bad, I’m seriously considering driving to McDonalds. I probably will. So, yes, I know exactly what you mean. Coincidence, or your doctor is wrong? I’m leaning towards the latter.

  8. Late comment for this but 9 months ago I got hit from behind while riding a bike and ended up hitting and flying over two cars and then hitting and the pavement. Needless to say I recieved a concussion (I was probably blacked out about 10 minutes). I usually am picky when it comes to carbs and rarely eat sweets. For 2-3 months afterwards I kept craving sickenly sweet food, especially chocolate. I have a body that typically tells me what I need so I decided to give in. I became a chocolate hoarder to make sure I always had something. After 2-3 months it was like a light switched and my cravings lowered significantly but they are still there. With the way TBIs work even 9+ months out I’ll occassionally have what I call a bad brain day where my brain fills up with quick sand and things just get do hard to do/understand and can even have emotional episodes for the littlest reasons (the doctor says it’ll probably be 2-3 years before I’m 100%). Sometimes I won’t pick up that I’m having a bad brain day but like clock work I’ll start pulling out the sweets and chocolate (I now freeze those giant cookies with icing cut into slices for “emergancies”). I’ve looked and looked for information but could not find anything on the subject except for this. So, I at least know I’m not the only one. And in my opinion if you’re a healthy eater the body lets you know what it needs. If you start craving sugar all of the sudden go ahead and give in a little.

    • Thank you so much for sharing Jess and especially for including the the time information. I’m in month four of healing and appreciate hearing of other people who took a while but did in fact heal.
      My need for sugar also seems to have decreased. The first two months I didn’t gain any weight even though I significantly increased my carb intake. Month three I gained 5 pounds. I’m now eating less carb than month 1 and 2 (although much more than before the concussion) and I seem to be able to keep the hypoglycemia in check with judicious timing while maintaining the slightly elevated weight.

  9. I, also, had a concussion in September and, though I never really craved iced coffee before, it was all I wanted! My cravings are gone now and I’m facing a refrigerator with over 20 Starbucks Mocha frappes. Hahaha!

  10. My husband who has a TBI craves sugar like there is no tomorrow. He used to be a very healthy guy and hated eating sugary things. Now I can’t keep it from him and he has gained so much Weight because of it. So yes, I believe it’s because of the injury.

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