How to control food cravings while dieting?
What are Food Cravings? Food Cravings are an ardent, difficult-to-resist desire to consume a particular food item or type of food. Generally, people tend to crave things such as sweets, high-fat snacks or even their favorite foods. This is known as Selective Craving. Similarly, Non-selective Cravings are a strong desire to eat whatever is available. It might be real hunger, hunger pangs or sometimes, simply a sign of thirst. Few Reasons of Cravings: Physiological Reasons: This could even be called real hunger. In this case, foods that are high in fibre/protein are ideal as they will fill you up. Psychological Reasons: In this case, you tend to crave high carb foods as they impact serotonin levels in our brains and enhance the mood. Hormonal Imbalances: Issues with the secretion of leptins & serotonin can also cause food cravings. Nutrient Deficiencies: It’s also possible that your body lacks certain nutrients and makes you crave certain foods which contain those nutrients. How Do You Fend Off Food Cravings? No Crash Diets: Very low calorie diets make it difficult to manage cravings. Instead, follow a sustainable calorie deficit plan that allows some occasional treats. Drink plenty of water: Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading to confusion. Keep yourself hydrated to keep cravings at bay. Get sufficient sleep: Lack of sleep could alter the body's hormonal balance and lead to overeating & weight gain. Consume sufficient protein: Adequate protein intake every day can also help reduce food cravings. Chew gum: It keeps the mouth busy and can help reduce both sweet & salt carvings. Avoid long gaps between meals: Frequent meals & healthy snacks at regular intervals keeps your stomach full and reduces extreme cravings. Avoid stress: Stress may induce food cravings & influence eating behaviour, especially in women. Try to minimize stress by scheduling the day & practicing meditation. Practice mindful eating: Be aware of what you’re eating and how you’re eating. It helps us distinguish between physical hunger & craving. This further prevents us from acting impulsively & helps manage hedonic hunger. References: 1. The Effects of Consuming Frequent, Higher Protein Meals on Appetite and Satiety During Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Men https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564867/ 2. Effects of Chewing Gum on Short-Term Appetite Regulation in Moderately Restrained Eaters https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21718732/ 3. Food Cravings and Body Weight: A Conditioning Response https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30048258/ 4. The Role of Mindfulness Based Interventions in the Treatment of Obesity and Eating Disorders: An Integrative Review https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23876574/ 5. Stress and Eating Behaviors https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24126546/