Studies have shown that virtually all women (97%) and most men (68%) admit to food cravings.† For women, chocolate and other sweets top the list, while men often yearn for entrees such as juicy steaks and cheeseburgers with all the trimmings.
Or maybe you are into potato chips, or other crunchy snacks.† Did you ever say ďI meant to eat just a few, but I couldnít stop until they were all gone?Ē† Itís happened to a lot of us.
What makes people eat like this?
Could what we crave be something our body needs?† Experts are pretty certain that missing nutrients are not to blame for the vast majority of our cravings.† While chocolate provides magnesium, if we really needed magnesium, weíd be longing for big green salads.
It seems that our bodies just plain like fats and sugars.† So, when we are under stress, or bored, we want our comfort food.† No surprise then that when weíre under pressure, we donít reach for steamed broccoli.
What is a craving?
A craving is a strong physical urge to do or eat something.† Most cravings are for food or drink.† It can be some-thing else like the urge to buy a new car, but todayís subject is food.
Why do we have to have it?
Thereís a possibility that sweets, pasta and other simple carbohydrate foods can boost serotonin in the brain, making you feel better.† Hormonal changes may also explain a womanís cravings for pickles and ice cream or other pregnancy-related hankerings.
Is a craving an addiction?
No.† An addiction is something you just canít do without.† For example, a person addicted to cigarettes will experience body pain while attempting withdrawal.† However, you can outlast a craving without the pain.
Are cravings related to hunger?
A good question.† For example, most people are not hungry at the end of Thanksgiving dinner when pumpkin pie is served?† And most people, if not all, eat that pumpkin pie.
Instead of satisfying hunger, cravings reward us and give us pleasure.† Researchers have found that the taste of creamy rich chocolate for example can give you a rush of positive feelings.† However, after youíve taken a few bites, the rush goes away.
10 Ways to Control Cravings
Itís better not to give in to food cravings because they make you fat.† Readers Digest online has some excellent ideas about how to control cravings.† To read about them, click on www.re.com/relax.
Hereís a quick outline:
- Avoid your triggers.† You can cut cravings by avoiding old habits for a week or more.† Also, attempt to avoid what has been stressing you, tho itís not easy.
- Destroy temptation.† If you did buy your old comfort food, donít store it, get rid of it.
- Go nuts. Two glasses of water and an ounce of nuts (6 walnuts or 12 almonds) will dampen your appetite by changing your body chemistry.
- Jolt yourself with java.† Try a skim latte instead of reaching for a candy bar.† It can quench your appetite.
- Let it go.† Use stress reducing techniques to cut your cravings for comfort foods.
- Take a power nap.† Cravings sneak up when youíre tired.† A nap can reenergize you and cut your cravings.
- Get minty fresh.† Brush your teeth and gargle with mouthwash.† When your mouth feels clean you donít want to mess it up.
- Distract yourself.† Cravings typically last 10 minutes.† Find something to do for 15 minutes and the craving could go away.
- Indulge yourself, within limits.† Once in a while enjoy a small portion of what you crave so you wonít feel deprived.
- Plan or avoid.† Vary your usual routine so you wonít come face to face with challenges.
More about cravings
Hereís an article we like.† Itís a little old, but still true:† Cravings.
The articleís conclusion is ďForget the carrot sticks and have a reasonable portion of ice cream, if itís ice cream that you really want,” she says. “In moderation, favorite high-calorie foods can help you stay within a well-balanced diet and achieve a healthy weight.”
According to Science Daily, comfort-food cravings may be the body’s attempt to put the brakes on chronic stress.† Here is a technical online article that explains why we turn to comfort foods when under stress.† Science Daily.
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