You know that feeling, an intense urge to eat a sugary, salty, or fatty type of food. Just thinking about it makes you feel excited.
There are no hunger pangs, rumbly tummy, or fatigue, which are the natural hunger signs. Only an urge to fulfill a desire. These desires are called cravings, and they can pop up at any minute.
In this post, you will discover what cravings are, why you have them, and how you can try to reduce or avoid them.
Food cravings are a strong desire to eat sugary, salty, or fatty types of food, which often seem uncontrollable, leaving you unsatisfied until you get what you want. Over 90% of the world's population experiences food cravings, and we all experience them differently. Studies have shown that men and women crave different kinds of food.
Men are more likely to crave savory foods like meat, fish, and eggs. If men do crave sweets, they typically go for sugar-sweetened beverages.
However, women crave mostly sweet foods like chocolate, cakes, and ice cream. The same studies have shown that women more frequently report experiencing cravings in their everyday lifestyle, not bound to food.
Some studies found that three key factors play a majority role in cravings:
Sleep efficiency is often associated with craving sugar. Studies show that people with poor quality sleep increases the frequency of their cravings. Overcome this by preparing a bedtime routine focused on calming your mind for better sleep. Avoid caffeine after 3 pm and leave your phone in the living room or study overnight. Practice a bedtime wind-down such as breathing exercises or meditation.
When you are stressed, it causes your adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol, increasing your appetite and cravings. Take up journaling to help let go of the stress from the day. Set a specific time each evening to answer these three questions:
"I will let go of…".
"I am grateful for…".
"I will focus on...".
Dieting is often to blame for causing cravings since you deny yourself specific foods. For example, when avoiding food rich in sugar, you tend to increase the cravings for sugary food. Improving the relationship with food through mindfulness may help control overeating, moving past restrictive diets.
Drink a big glass of cold water the next time you have cravings. It helps by hydrating the body and giving a sense of fullness
Studies have shown that a healthy diet rich in lean protein may help reduce cravings. The same research suggests that eating more protein helps suppress hunger and reduce ghrelin (a hormone related to appetite.) Start the morning with a high-protein breakfast to kickstart your day.
It is almost a sure thing that you will experience food cravings if you enter the supermarket hungry. Why? – Because the salty, sugary, fatty foods are easily accessible and at eye level. Try shopping after you have eaten.
No evidence shows that brushing your teeth affects the hormones that regulate your appetite. But food does not taste good right after brushing your teeth. It helps extinguish the desire to fulfill a craving. Try brushing your teeth after meals.
A study shows that chewing gum for 45 minutes can make you less hungry and avoid cravings.