Do you find yourself trying to curb your cravings initially denying yourself a tasty treat, and then giving in and binging on more chocolate than you expected? Food cravings can be the bane of our existence, leading us to eat unhealthy foods that make us feel guilty about ourselves. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to Psychology Today, 97% of Americans fall victim to the draws of their guilty pleasures.
The next time you have a food craving, instead of feeling guilty, try to pinpoint why you are having these cravings! It can be an indication of dehydration, your diet lacking in nutrients, or perhaps you’re stressed about something in your life. If you’re looking to curb those cravings for good, you may need to get to the bottom of the problem. Here are a few reasons for why you may be craving:
You may have an addiction to the foods that you crave. Certain types of foods, such as sugars, often trigger the part of the brain that is control the reward center. To kick this habit, you’ll need a lot of dedication, because you’ll need to completely cut these foods out of your life for at least two weeks. After this two week period, you’ll be able to slowly reintroduce the food item back into your diet.
You may notice that when you are in high times of stress, you may want to indulge in salty snacks. Our adrenal glands moderate our stress response and regulate our sodium levels. Stress impairs the ability of our adrenal glands to regulate sodium levels, which in turn, causes us to crave salty snacks. When you’re stressed out, try to step back from the situation you’re in and evaluate why you’re stressed.
Lack of Sleep
Getting less sleep can cause your body to produce more ghrelin and less leptin. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone which triggers your appetite. Leptin is the hormone which signals to your body that you are full and that you should stop eating. Doctors recommend to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep!
Being thirsty is the leading cause of both sugar and salt cravings! Often our bodies confuse dehydration for something else, such as a sugar craving. When we’re thirsty, our bodies are depleted of essential minerals and nutrients, and so our bodies try to compensate with cravings. This is an easy fix! Try to drink 8 glasses of water a day to satiate your thirst.
So the next time you have a sudden urge to reach for that bag of salty chips, or the chocolate bar, try to identify and pinpoint what could be causing this craving! It may save you from eating those extra calories that you didn’t need to!