The Psychological Factors That Cause Food Cravings

I’ve heard a lot of people say that: when they start eating healthier, they start craving healthier food over time…

I haven’t noticed that working for me.  Not exactly.  I get cravings, but when I go to address the craving – I do try to make healthier choices.

Improve Your Self-Control With a 10-Minute Delay

When it’s far too difficult to deny yourself that cigarette, eating that donut, or splurging on a new coat, tell yourself to instead wait just 10 minutes before you give in. This “mini” delay in gratification will help you build more self-control over time.

Source: Improve Your Self-Control With a 10-Minute Delay

Depending on your office, if you wait 10 minutes, the good donuts may be gone (if not all of them) which will make the self control that much easier. 😉

Liver hormone may be the off-switch for sweet-tooth, cocktail cravings

Gimmicky diets, flavor fakery, and sham sweets all try to bamboozle the brain out of wanting sugary treats and calorie-packed happy hour drinks. But scientists may have found an all-natural way to simply switch off those corrupting cravings.

Source: Liver hormone may be the off-switch for sweet-tooth, cocktail cravings

I am always nervous about hormone treatments, as we usually do not know all the side effects of the hormone treatments, as the body is a series of complex chemical interactions driven in part by hormones.  I am even more nervous about chemical treatments than hormone treatments, as they are not usually natural to the body and can throw things out of whack leaving the body no natural way to overcome the chemical imbalance.  So I am cautiously optimistic that this is a better treatment path than existing medicines, as the hormone occurs naturally in the body, appears to be directly involved in doing what they want it to do already, and hopefully the body has some built in methods to handle additional amounts of the hormone with fewer serious side effects.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

…A chemist by training with a doctoral degree in food science, Behnke became Pillsbury’s chief technical officer in 1979 and was instrumental in creating a long line of hit products, including microwaveable popcorn. He deeply admired Pillsbury but in recent years had grown troubled by pictures of obese children suffering from diabetes and the earliest signs of hypertension and heart disease. In the months leading up to the C.E.O. meeting, he was engaged in conversation with a group of food-science experts who were painting an increasingly grim picture of the public’s ability to cope with the industry’s formulations — from the body’s fragile controls on overeating to the hidden power of some processed foods to make people feel hungrier still. It was time, he and a handful of others felt, to warn the C.E.O.’s that their companies may have gone too far in creating and marketing products that posed the greatest health concerns.

Source: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

It’s an incredibly long read about the various ways the food industry worked to make products more appealing.  The “vanishing caloric deficit” is said to be present in Coca-cola, that you can drink lots without feeling full.  That’s besides the desire to have more…

Why You Crave Tomato Juice on an Airplane

Despite the fact that I never drink tomato juice on the ground, I’m once again craving the drink in mid air. In fact, on the very first flight I took as a kid – from Athens, Greece to Toronto back in 1991 – I distinctly remember ordering tomato juice. Now, why would a 10-year old kid crave tomato juice? And why am I now having the same craving?

Source: Why You Crave Tomato Juice on an Airplane

The comments echo my thoughts as well – who craves tomato juice, let alone when?  Now I crave a ginger ale…

Why Your Brain Is Obsessed With Food at Night

It happens to all of us: You’re at home at night when suddenly a craving hits. Never mind that you’re not actually famished — you need food now. And, unfortunately, you’re probably going to eat more than you should.

According to new research from Brigham Young University, there’s science behind this phenomenon. In a new study published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior, researchers discovered that some areas of the brain don’t get the same “food high” at night as they do during the day.

Source: Why Your Brain Is Obsessed With Food at Night

This is not something I’ve experienced.  I have woken to pain/discomfort from being hungry.  Not often, and I started to eat more.  I didn’t like the experience, but also was concerned about too much weight loss.

Why Some Vegetarians Start Craving Meat

During her nine years as a vegetarian, writer Courtney Dunlop says she always had a “nagging feeling” eating plants exclusively wasn’t the absolute best thing for her own health. She felt sluggish, unhealthy, and like her general mood could be improved.

However, with animal welfare as a driving motivator, she continued with the restrictive diet — even choosing to go vegan earlier this year.

Source: Why Some Vegetarians Start Craving Meat

We already have words to better summarize “craving on a cellular level” – nutrition deficiency.  That’s why it’s not a good idea to make a substantial change to your diet without information.  Unless you live in an area without internet, there’s no excuse.  Libraries provide internet access…

It’s incredibly difficult to be vegetarian, nevermind vegan, if you are on warfarin/coumadin.  You can, but your medication dose is likely to be higher that on other diets as spinach/kale/chard are extremely high in vitamin K.

Pursue whatever diet you want, so long as it is providing the necessary nutrition.  But I admit, I don’t like the idea of a diet based on guilt/shame.  I do however advocate that most could stand to have more fruit and vegetables in our diet.

When Low Calorie Foods Actually Screw Your Diet

“Low calorie” foods are all the rage these days. Sure, they may seem like a good idea on the surface, but sometimes they’re as silly as thinking “if I cut this cake in half, I can eat twice the amount.” Here’s how to tell when the lower-calorie option is the right decision.

Source: When Low Calorie Foods Actually Screw Your Diet

Yes, the old trick of “I can eat more because of lower impact”… And remember that you can’t always trust food marketing – they are not nutritionists.

The article mentions high protein, low carb as a means to addressing satiety in a healthy fashion, but fat content will do the same.  Consult this post for how to incorporate more protein into common recipes.  As we see in the Mediterranean Diet, we can tolerate more fat than we’ve been led to believe in the past few decades.  Avocados are high in calories and fat, but are incredibly healthy.  You can loose weight without counting calories.

Evolutionary Advantage: Sweet Tooth

…young kids’ preference for extremely sugary foods might be even more biologically ingrained than we thought. Scientists now think that kids’ growing bodies may prompt them to crave more sugar — and a child’s sweet tooth might be heightened during growth spurts.

Source: Why A Sweet Tooth May Have Been An Evolutionary Advantage For Kids

Study: Truth About Chocolate Cravings

A recent study took people experiencing chocolate cravings and gave them varying degrees of relief. Some were given chocolate. Some were given white chocolate – which is made with cocoa butter and doesn’t have the chemicals in regular chocolate. Some were given little pills containing all the chemicals they’d get in a piece of chocolate. Some were given nothing.

Only one of those groups had their cravings totally alleviated.

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