Craving Sweets - Can I Make it Stop?
Some scientists speculate that food cravings happen for a number of reasons. Some feel that they may be secondary to a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency (a calcium deficiency for example). Some researchers speculate that some cravings may be related to your body temperature. For example, if you crave spicy foods then your body may need to perspire to cool itself down. Another possible hypothesis to food cravings would be related to serotonin levels. There may be neurological/hormonal imbalances in your body that are making you crave sweets. Serotonin is considered the “feel good” neurochemical, and it is hypothesized that by eating sweets you naturally boost the serotonin levels, which helps you to feel happy.
Cravings may be physical or psychological in nature. A physical craving may suggest that you have areas of your diet that could use improvement. For example, are you waiting too long between meal times? Try to eat three square meals and it may be helpful to include a healthy snack in between to prevent hunger. If you are skipping meals or waiting too long to eat, you may be experiencing blood sugar highs and lows during the day. This may contribute to the sweet cravings too. Do you eat breakfast? It is very important to have breakfast to kick-start your metabolism first thing (high fiber cereal or oatmeal, egg white omelet, or whole wheat toast with peanut butter). Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? The typical American needs approximately 20-35 grams of fiber a day (whole grain bread, brown rice, bran cereal, fruits, vegetables, beans, etc). Fiber helps keep you feeling fuller longer, which may help you feel satisfied and help to avoid a food craving. Are you getting enough sleep? Try to get at least 7-8 hours a night. Also, make sure you are limiting or avoiding foods/beverages that may alter your chemical balance (for example, limit/avoid caffeine and alcohol).
The psychological component of cravings may also be taking place. Sometimes sensory stimulation (commercials showing chocolate or the bakery that you pass on the way to work every day) may increase food cravings. Our emotions may play a role as well. If you have been feeling stressed, anxious, bored, or lonely you may notice an increase in food cravings. Overall make sure that if you are having a craving, stop and sit quietly and focus on what it is that you are feeling and measure your hunger level. It has been suggested that you get a glass of water or go for a walk. You may be able to pinpoint where the craving is coming from (an argument you had with a co-worker may have increased your stress level or you may just be bored). Some people may realize why they are having a craving and may be able to depress that desire. You might realize that it has been a very long time since you have eaten and you are simply just hungry. That could allow you to choose a healthier snack (low fat yogurt with berries or a fresh fruit smoothie) than cake batter. If the craving continues to persist, then I recommend having what you are craving, but limit your portion to a few spoonfuls or a few small pieces of chocolate.Login to Favorite