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    Women's Health

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    12 Effective Ways to Manage Food Cravings

    Although food cravings are common, they can lead to overeating and negative health consequences. This article shares how to stop food cravings.

    NUTRITION

    12 Effective Ways to Manage Food Cravings

    Written by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD on June 2, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Sade Meeks, MS, RD, Nutrition

    If you sometimes experience food cravings or an irresistible desire to eat specific foods, rest assured that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that over 90% of the world’s population gets food cravings (1

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    These cravings can be hard to ignore, potentially leading you to consume excessive amounts of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor, and highly palatable foods like chocolate, cake, ice cream, and pizza. Unfortunately, these excess calories and processed foods can harm your health (2

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    If you worry that you experience more food cravings than others or your cravings often bother you, several reasons can explain why, and there are several ways to combat them.

    This article shares 12 effective, evidence-based ways to manage food cravings.

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    Photography by Aya Brackett

    1. Eat enough calories

    It’s important to fuel your body properly to keep it healthy and functioning at its best.

    Without enough calories and nutrients, it’s natural that your body signals you to eat, which can cause strong cravings for certain foods.

    While the relationship between calorie intake and food cravings is complex, some research suggests that calorie restriction — at least in the short term — can increase cravings (2

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    On the other hand, long-term calorie restriction may be associated with less overall and specific food cravings (3

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    Regardless, consistently fueling your body with healthy, filling foods and making sure you’re not overly restricting calories may help decrease food cravings.

    2. Avoid restrictive diets

    Picture kicking off a new diet, feeling ready to change your eating patterns and reach new health goals. Unfortunately, just hours or days later, you get stronger and stronger cravings for all the foods you cannot eat.

    If this sounds familiar, rest assured that it’s completely normal. Many diets are overly restrictive, and this can lead to increased food cravings. In fact, some studies suggest that people on diets are likely to experience more frequent food cravings than people who aren’t on diets.

    For example, a 2012 study including 129 women found that those who were dieting to lose weight experienced significantly more food cravings than women who weren’t dieting. Plus, their food cravings were more intense (4

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    In fact, it’s believed that restrained eating and perceived deprivation play a large role in food cravings.

    A 2020 review of 8 studies on food deprivation found that in 7 of the studies, food deprivation increased cravings for foods that were perceived as off-limits (2

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    Therefore, while losing excess body fat may improve your overall health, it’s important to avoid overly restrictive diets to keep food cravings at bay. Instead, focus on developing an eating pattern that properly nourishes your body and lets you enjoy your favorite foods on occasion.

    3. Don’t let yourself get ravenously hungry

    Although hunger is a natural body cue that shouldn’t be feared, letting yourself get too hungry might increase the risk of strong food cravings.

    From your body’s point of view, this makes perfect sense.

    When you’re feeling ravenously hungry, it’s likely that you haven’t fueled your body for a long time. As a result, your blood sugar levels may be low, and your body will direct you to consume high energy foods to get those levels back up into the normal range (5

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    On the other hand, when your blood sugar levels are stable, you’re less likely to have strong food cravings.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to stringently eat every couple of hours to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Rather, simply pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues and feed your body when it needs fuel.

    4. Eat filling, nutrient-dense foods

    A simple way to keep cravings in check, feel fuller for longer, and stabilize your blood sugar levels is to enjoy foods that promote feelings of fullness. All three macronutrients — fat, carbs, and protein — are important for keeping you feeling full.

    That said, protein is the most filling macronutrient. In fact, many studies have demonstrated that eating more of this nutrient helps manage food cravings.

    For example, high protein diets have been shown to reduce the activation of areas in the brain associated with food rewards and cravings, reduce nighttime snacking on sugary, high calorie foods, and decrease food cravings (6

    Trusted Source Trusted Source , 7 Trusted Source Trusted Source , 8 Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    In other words, pairing protein-rich foods with healthy fats and fiber-rich carbs is essential for promoting fullness.

    Source : www.healthline.com

    Manufactured Deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating

    (plus 3 strategies to get control) You know the feeling: One salty crunch turns into 100, and suddenly you’re licking the cheese dust and wondering: What’s wrong with me?  Actually, it’s normal to feel like you can’t stop overeating certain things. Today’s hyperpalatable food is creating a modern-day food crisis—one that’s leaving us feeling sick, out of control, and constantly craving more. Here’s how it works, plus 3 ways to overcome it. It’s happened to us all. After a frenzy of lustful grabbing and furious crunching, we find ourselves at the bottom of a jumbo bag of crisps. “How did that happen?” we ask fuzzily. “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop?” But, before going into full-fledged self-loathing mode, consider this. Processed foods are scientifically engineered to be irresistible and easy to gobble up in large quantities. If you can’t stop, the crisps are doing their job. (In fact, someone at Frito-Lay probably got a promotion for that recipe.) That’s why, in this article, we’ll explain exactly how junk food is designed to make us respond with compulsive, manic, gotta-have-more snack sessions. Even better, we’ll arm you with three useful strategies for examining your relationship with processed food and taking control of overeating. Because, if you feel out of control around certain foods, you’re not crazy. Even healthy eaters feel out of control around food sometimes. Even if we value nutrition and want to take care of ourselves, some foods can make us feel… kinda possessed. Know what I mean? You show up to a potluck with quinoa salad goals and find yourself inhaling a plate of crisps, cookies, and some chocolate-peanut-butter-marshmallow thing that some devil, um friend, made. You reach into the freezer to have one spoonful of ice cream and suddenly you’re mining the caramel swirl, then the nut clusters, then the brownie chunks, and then… your spoon scrapes the bottom. You just want a bite of your friend’s chips, but you find yourself elbowing her out of the way so you can steal all the chips, plus the burger too. Even with the best intentions, the pull of certain foods is so strong that it can leave us feeling powerless. If you’ve felt this, you’re not alone (and you’re not broken). Certain foods are actually designed to make us overeat. If you’re overeating, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you or your willpower. Here’s the truth: There’s a whole industry dedicated to creating food that’s hyperpalatable—food that’s so tasty it’s nearly irresistible. Your body and brain are responding exactly as they’re supposed to. It’s supposed to feel almost unnatural to stop eating these foods! But we’re not talking about food like celery sticks, whole brown rice, or baked salmon filets. (How often do you hear yourself say, “I ate sooo much steamed asparagus! I just couldn’t stop myself!” That’s right. You’ve never heard yourself say that.) We’re talking about processed foods. Processed foods are foods that have been modified from their original, whole-food form in order to change their flavour, texture, or shelf-life. Often, they’re altered so that they hit as many pleasure […]

    Manufactured Deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating

    Manufactured Deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating (plus 3 strategies to get control)

    You know the feeling: One salty crunch turns into 100, and suddenly you’re licking the cheese dust and wondering: What’s wrong with me? Actually, it’s normal to feel like you can’t stop overeating certain things. Today’s hyperpalatable food is creating a modern-day food crisis—one that’s leaving us feeling sick, out of control, and constantly craving more.Here’s how it works, plus 3 ways to overcome it.

    It’s happened to us all.

    After a frenzy of lustful grabbing and furious crunching, we find ourselves at the bottom of a jumbo bag of crisps.

    “How did that happen?” we ask fuzzily.

    “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop?”

    But, before going into full-fledged self-loathing mode, consider this.

    Processed foods are scientifically engineered to be irresistible and easy to gobble up in large quantities. If you can’t stop, the crisps are doing their job.

    (In fact, someone at Frito-Lay probably got a promotion for that recipe.)

    That’s why, in this article, we’ll explain exactly how junk food is designed to make us respond with compulsive, manic, gotta-have-more snack sessions.

    Even better, we’ll arm you with three useful strategies for examining your relationship with processed food and taking control of overeating.

    Because, if you feel out of control around certain foods, you’re not crazy.

    Even healthy eaters feel out of control around food sometimes. Even if we value nutrition and want to take care of ourselves, some foods can make us feel… kinda possessed.

    Know what I mean?

    You show up to a potluck with quinoa salad goals and find yourself inhaling a plate of crisps, cookies, and some chocolate-peanut-butter-marshmallow thing that some devil, um friend, made.

    You reach into the freezer to have one spoonful of ice cream and suddenly you’re mining the caramel swirl, then the nut clusters, then the brownie chunks, and then… your spoon scrapes the bottom.

    You just want a bite of your friend’s chips, but you find yourself elbowing her out of the way so you can steal all the chips, plus the burger too.

    Even with the best intentions, the pull of certain foods is so strong that it can leave us feeling powerless.

    If you’ve felt this, you’re not alone (and you’re not broken).

    Certain foods are actually designed to make us overeat.

    If you’re overeating, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you or your willpower.

    Here’s the truth: There’s a whole industry dedicated to creating food that’s hyperpalatable—food that’s so tasty it’s nearly irresistible.

    Your body and brain are responding exactly as they’re supposed to. It’s supposed to feel almost unnatural to stop eating these foods!

    But we’re not talking about food like celery sticks, whole brown rice, or baked salmon filets.

    (How often do you hear yourself say, “I ate sooo much steamed asparagus! I just couldn’t stop myself!” That’s right. You’ve never heard yourself say that.)

    We’re talking about processed foods.

    Processed foods are foods that have been modified from their original, whole-food form in order to change their flavour, texture, or shelf-life. Often, they’re altered so that they hit as many pleasure centres as possible—from our brains to our mouths to our bellies.

    Processed foods are highly cravable, immediately gratifying, fun to eat, and easy to over-consume quickly (and often cheaply).

    Processed foods will also look and feel different from their whole food counterparts, depending on the degree that they’re processed.

    Let’s take corn as an example.

    Boiled and eaten off the cob it’s pale yellow, kinda fibrous, but chewy and delicious.

    Corn that’s a bit processed—ground into a meal and shaped into a flat disk—turns into a soft corn tortilla. A tortilla has a nice corny flavour and a soft, pliable texture that makes it easy to eat and digest.

    But what if you ultra-process that corn? You remove all the fibre, isolate the starch, and then use that starch to make little ring-shaped crisps, which are fried and dusted with sweet and salty barbecue powder. They’re freaking delicious.

    That corn on the cob is yummy. But those corn-derived ring crisps? They’re… well they’re gone because someone ate them all.

    Let’s take an even deeper look

    The food industry has a variety of processing methods and ingredient additives they use to make food extra tasty and easy to consume…. and over-consume.

    Here are a few examples:

    Extrusion

    Grains are processed into a slurry and pass through a machine called an extruder. With the help of high heat and pressure, whole, raw grains get transformed into airy, crispy, easy-to-digest shapes like cereals, crackers, and other crunchy foods with uniform shapes.

    In addition to changing texture and digestibility, the extrusion process also destroys certain nutrients and enzymes, denatures proteins, and changes the starch composition of a grain. This lowers the nutrition and increases the glycemic index of the product.

    Emulsifiers

    Used to improve the “mouth feel” of a product, emulsifiers smooth out and thicken texture, creating a rich, luxurious feel. Although there are natural emulsifiers, like egg yolk, the food industry often uses chemical emulsifiers like Polysorbate-80, sodium phosphate, and carboxymethylcellulose.

    Source : clubtowers.com

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