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How to control food cravings while dieting?

Biswajit sahoo
Biswajit sahoo
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/