A food craving or selective hunger is an intense desire to consume a specific food, and is different from normal hunger.
Food cravings are a dieter’s worst enemy. These are intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods. The types of foods that people crave are highly variable, but these are often processed junk foods that are high in sugar.
Cravings are one of the biggest reasons why people have problems losing weight and keeping it off.
Food cravings sometimes arise to satisfy emotional needs, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety. For many of us, cravings kick into high gear when we’re stressed or anxious. Carbohydrates boost our levels of the hormone serotonin, which has a calming effect. And recent research suggests that the combination of fat and sugar may also have a calming effect.
HOW TO STOP UNHEALTHY FOOD CRAVINGS
- Drink Water
Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water may have many health benefits. In middle-aged and older people, drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and help with weight loss.
- Eat More Protein
Eating more protein may reduce your appetite and keep you from overeating. It also reduces cravings, and helps you feel full and satisfied for longer.
- Plan Your Meals
If possible, try to plan your meals for the day or upcoming week. By already knowing what you’re going to eat, you eliminate the factor of spontaneity and uncertainty.
If you don’t have to think about what to eat at the following meal, you will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings.
- Avoid Getting Extremely Hungry
Hunger is one of the biggest reasons why we experience cravings. To avoid getting extremely hungry, it may be a good idea to eat regularly and have healthy snacks close at hand.
By being prepared, and avoiding long periods of hunger, you may be able to prevent the craving from showing up at all.
- Fight Stress
Stress may induce food cravings and influence eating behaviors, especially for women. Women under stress have been shown to eat significantly more calories and experience more cravings than non-stressed women.
Furthermore, stress raises your blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area.
- Eat Proper Meals
Hunger and a lack of key nutrients can both cause certain cravings.
Therefore, it’s important to eat proper meals at mealtimes. This way, your body gets the nutrients it needs and you won’t get extremely hungry right after eating.
If you find yourself in need of a snack between meals, make sure it’s something healthy. Reach for whole foods, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables or seeds.
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