WHY WE HAVE FOOD CRAVINGS
**CUES IN THE ENVIRONMENT-The time of day may trigger a desire eat if it coincides with mealtime or usually later in the afternoon . "By far the greatest number of cravings occur late in the day," says Marcia Levin Pelchat, Ph.D., of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, an institute that does research on taste and food preferences. "That's when our blood glucose drops, making us sluggish and in need of a lift" All it takes now is a cue -- a fast-food billboard on your way home or a co-worker's candy bar -- to bring on a major craving. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_5_22/ai_95540550
**WHEN WE ARE STRESSED OUT, BORED OR UPSET-Bad moods frequently give rise to cravings: We imagine that if we eat a cookie or a chocolate bar, we'll feel better -- and often we do. Carbohydrates sweet or starchy foods -- increase the secretion of the brain chemical serotonin, which in turn can improve mood.
**BEFORE YOUR PERIOD- Research shows that many of our cravings for chocolate and carbohydrate-rich foods are particularly intense in the days leading up to menstruation. Experts theorize that women may overeat carbs in an attempt to raise serotonin levels to counter the bad moods and mild depression related to PMS.http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_5_22/ai_95540550
HOW TO CONQUER FOOD CRAVINGS
**EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS DURING THE DAY-If you skip meals (ex. breakfast) or go too long without eating, your blood sugar levels will fall too low, which is a perfect recipe for food cravings, overeating and even binges. Allowing 3-4 hours between meals/snacks is a sensible maximum for women, although 3 hours is better. Men typically can safely wait 4-5 hours. And you don't need to eat much: even a single oat-cake can be enough between meals to keep eating urges at bay. As well as maintaining stable blood glucose levels, regular eating helps your metabolism to burn calories at an efficient rate. Finally, studies show that regular eating helps to reduce cravings associated with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). I hate to say this but I don't think that I can go 3-4 hours without something. I am a snacker so maybe just some smaller healthy little meals would work too (for those of you who read this blog often-need I say nuts would be a good snack).
**REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF DRINKS THAT ACT AS STIMULANTS-According to some experts, stimulants (ex. sugar, caffeine in tea/coffee, caffeinated soft drinks-all things I of course enjoy)can cause fluctuations in blood sugar, and should be avoided or at least consumed in moderation. Switch to herbal teas, spring water and diluted pure fruit juices.
**RECONDITION YOUR BODY NOT TO HAVE THEM AT ALL-Ohmg! Did I really write that???? Not to have them at all???? What would life be like without the occasional pizza, the brownies, cookies, chocolate and of course the highly revered by me Diet Pepsi craving??? This is why I am a health wannabee because the thought of life without those dear yet junky foods sounds sad and lonely (please tell me there are others out there in this world who feel the same so I don't feel so pathetic). Okay, let me say it in a way that sounds more doable to my ears (and those in the health nut wannabe's club ears)-Recondition your body to have them in moderation. How about that? Sounds better, don't you think? Apparently,when it comes to cravings, it is like a wave-the urge goes up, it crests, then it goes back down. The trick, then, is to surf the craving crest and get past it. Do things that distract you from thoughts of eating. If you normally go to the convenience store and get Laffy Taffy and chocolate in the morning then instead pick up the phone and call a friend, go for a walk, read my blog, whatever it takes (within reason). ref-Whole Foods Market March/April issue.
I also found this list at http://www.naturopathyworks.com/pages/cravings.php by Dr. Colleen Huber that tells you when you crave something (ex-chocolate) then you really need (magnesium) so try (Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits). There are tons of different foods she has listed and what you can replace those cravings with in a healthier way.
P.S. Thanks for all the support on my Diet Pepsi withdrawal. I am doing much better than expected (I 'm still alive) and think this is not going to be as hard as expected. I appreciate all the suggestions and am putting them to use.
I consider myself a health food/freak/nut...exercise person..but love buttercream frosting, half moon cookies and shiraz every night! Just run my but off 4 or 5 times a week uphill...trying to make up for it all! Love your blog and thanks for visiting mine!!ReplyDelete
What a wealth of knowledge you are! Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Very good tips. Expecially the reconditioning. We are so conditioned, aren't we, to enjoy such necessities to life, like chocolate and french fries and all those delicious cakes like Sachertorte. Just yesterday I was with a nutritional consultant (willingly I might add) and now I write down everything that passes my lips.ReplyDelete
Anyway, have you heard of Xocai, a healthy chocolate, which does not use that bad crystal sugar? You might want to check it out. So rather than paste a link here, you can find one on my blog.
great article. let me begin by saying i started out with a goal: how do i increase my metabolism so i can eat what i want like i did when i was younger.ReplyDelete
today i have really (truly) only one craving and it is sushi. had many before that and created reasons why they were bad for me on a "daily" basis. see, the cravings that are easy to have on a daily basis are that much harder to give up.
here is a brief list of things i once craved...
i gave up coffee = reason: stains my teeth. just have it on friday morning with a friend and maybe an expresso after a very special meal.
soda pop = reason: unnecessary calories. switched to pelligrino and filtered water for liquids. note: started gatorade but my feeling is this is not going to last long.
gave up carbs (rissotto, pasta, bread) = reason: i want to see my stomach muscles again. i have substituted beans and veggies. i only eat the above on special occasions.
butter, sour cream, ice cream = reason is obvious. substituted oil, skim, yogurt, frozen yogurt.
gave up sugar and salt in many of the recipes substituting honey/fruit for the sweets. for the salts i marinate with salt, even veggies but that's it.
this is over a five year period. my tastes and habits (cravings) have changed. and i learned how to cook really fab meals following the above rules.
during this period i also learned about the blood-sugar thing. note: there are two of us in our household that eat alike, which also helps. and during this same period i have tried to maintain 8 hrs a week doing strenuous exercise. (5-6 hrs on weekends)
i recommend the same for your pet if you give them "people food" which many people do these days. i will let heidi respond to this when the mood strikes her.
sushi last night! came home and made pop corn—a nightly event. no butter but yes, salt...
These are all reasonable tips--but as you said, so difficult to carry obey! Thanks for the info. I will be sure to try to follow these rules more often =)ReplyDelete
It really is about retraining your taste buds. Like the Diet Pepsi- I tried to quit drinking it for years. I knew I was addicted to it, but finally managed to condition myself to realize that every sip tasted like chemicals, and now, 5 years later, I still can't stand the thought of the stuff, or any other soft drink for that matter.ReplyDelete
I think it's the Diet Pepsi for me too...except not it's on to the Diet Pepsi Max! Yes, they suckered me with their commercials for it...ReplyDelete
This post, covers everything I've been trying to do in the past month or so. I'm like you and like to eat all the yummy(bad) foods, but I so want to eat healthier. boy it's hard.ReplyDelete
The hardest for me is sweets and carbs and I'm trying to cut back on those. So far I'm doing good with no desserts and I've managed to loose a few pounds!
Anyway great tips! It's nice to hear it from someone else who struggles with the same issues. I just have to learn how to recondition myself.
I think cues in the environment is a big one for me!ReplyDelete
I'm a big fan of walking to the icecream shop every now and again, and NOT keeping a tub in the freezer at home.
This helps at work too - I take my healthy snacks to work with me and then I don't have anything unhealthy at hand to eat!
Are you sure, chocolate bar helps to change our bad mood? also I heard that that even reduces workplace pressures. Am I right?, Oh ya, I have to check the links which you have provided here....mmm, Thanks buddyReplyDelete