3 ways to conquer your food cravings

Geneen Roth’s book, When Food is Love, says that carbs are feelings and calories are facts. Implicit in this statement is the assumption that we need to know this as sugar can hook us with its sweetness but not its calories. Now it’s true that very few of us have a major problem with the calories we ingest through a healthy diet. However, millions of people in the U.S. do have a problem with the amount of food they eat. As it turns out, you do not have to be overweight to overeat on food.

Food cravings are a real pain in the butt. They elicit the desire to eat that specific food, and you just can’t help but get it. For example, when I really want burgers, I find myself thinking about them constantly. Then if I get to the store and see them, there goes my diet.

A recent study found that cravings are the reason for weight gain. So, if you’re stuck on a weight-loss plateau, craving might be the reason. But food cravings are not permanent. You can do something about it now!

  1. What is a food craving?

Food craving is a phenomenon that relates to humans where they can’t control themselves to enjoy delicious food. Food craving is likely characterized by cephalic phase responses that regulate human eating behavior. This phenomenon actually occurs with different people often when the body wants to get some nutrients back into the body.

Some people feel that they are not able to control food cravings, whereas others describe that cravings can be managed, but the challenge is to know the right ways to control and reduce food cravings and how to get rid of them completely. Food cravings may be caused by stress, depression, feeling low (e.g., sad), happiness, sleep problems, alcohol use disorder, malnutrition, and poor eating habits.

Of course, there are the stereotypical cravings that most of us are familiar with, such as chocolate, when we’re in need of some sugar. Or potato chips when we’re feeling salty. However, these aren’t the only types of cravings that exist.

When people suffer from food cravings, they will experience an intense desire for certain types of food. These cravings can last from a few hours to days at a time. It is unknown what exactly causes food cravings, but most experts agree that they are partly psychological and partly physical.

The science behind food cravings is not yet fully understood as the chemical processes that occur in your body when you crave foods have not been fully identified. Food cravings were once thought to be triggered by foods that contained psychoactive substances such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol. (1) However, current evidence has shown this to be incorrect, with none of these substances actually provoking food cravings.

You don’t have to go overboard. Use these three tips to conquer your cravings once and for all!

  1. Low caloric density

Have you ever thought about the energy density of your food (technically known as the caloric density)? Energy from food comes from calories which are measured in kilocalories (large calorie figure, for food scientists). For example, one teaspoon of sugar contains about four calories. And it’s these calories that we’re trying to avoid when we’re dieting. As a general rule, high energy-dense foods have more than 200 kilocalories per 100 grams. At the same time, low energy-dense foods have less than 100 kilocalories. Taking into account that men need around 2500 kilocalories per day and women need about 2000.

As natural eaters, our bodies know what to do all day long — binging on high energy density foods such as fruits and vegetables — and even when we overeat. Those feasts have quite a negligible effect on our body’s fat metabolism. So unless you are addicted to sugar, and salt like many of us are, it’s hard to overeat and gain weight on natural foods. But didn’t we evolve to be hunters and gatherers? We had to eat when food was available; that is what our bodies are programmed for. Therefore, if food cravings strike most of us at some point in the day or evening, following your primal instincts might not be the best advice.

  1. Don’t eat when you’re full

I don’t want to get into all the boring details about protein and fiber…etc…etc… The short version is that you should eat until your stomach is full, but not over-full. If you feel like you could continue and eat a little more, you should stop eating because you’ll feel overly full afterward.

Many times after you eat, you will feel tired, bloated, or not at your optimum potency. If you constantly have this effect after eating, it could be a sign that your body has too many carbohydrates clogging your body like sugar. Surprisingly in the U.S., there is an estimated average of 270 grams of carbonated soft drinks per person every week and 526 grams of sugary drinks (non-carbonated).

If you are trying to lose weight, then you might already know that one of your greatest challenges is controlling your appetite. It is not only about consuming fewer calories but also eating healthier and eating the right amounts.

You don’t need a degree in nutrition to understand how to create healthy eating habits. There are three factors that combine to regulate your food intake: metabolic factors, brain signals, and physiological reactions. You might not think that a few snacks can make us gain weight, but it is important to realize what “a few” really means in the context of your total daily diet.

  1. Eat sequentially

I always used to wonder why people had sequence eating habits. Eat protein first…no, wait. I don’t have my greens…no, no, you have to eat your grains first…yeah, that sounds right. It seems silly and unnecessary, but all of that worrying can easily be avoided all at once by just following the sequence method.

It is the same way with a meal. Start with an appetizer, then the main dish, and finally desserts. You have to balance your meals by beginning with healthy food, and at the end, you can eat something that isn’t good for you. By doing so, it will help you prevent gaining weight.

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