Food cravings are an intense desire to consume a specific food and is different from normal hunger.
It may or may not be related to specific hunger.
The causes for food cravings are many and range form physiological (body needs) to psychological needs.
Physiologically, the body is deficient in nutrition (which are largely micro nutrients in nature) and therefore shows up in cravings for certain foods or food groups. The cravings show up with high levels of sugar related foods or food with high amount of calories. The most commonly occurring food cravings are chocolate, sweets, breads and evening munchies. Chocolate cravings are a result of deficiencies in magnesium, b vitamins and theobromine (an element found in cocoa). Similarly, sweets cravings are a result of chromium, phosphorous deficiency or even carbohydrate shocks.
Some of the common reasons that individuals experience cravings are low serotonin (happy hormone) levels and fats or carbohydrates, which comprise most comfort foods. These comfort foods produce endorphins temporarily to make the person move out of the “unhappy state”.
There is enough evidence that shows that food addiction/cravings create the same impact on the brain as does addictions like smoking/alcohol or drugs. The opioid system in the brain works in the same manner to food addiction as to any other addiction. For e.g. when smokers look at people or pictures of people smoking, it activates the different senses in the brain and the individual’s body.
Food works the same way for individuals with cravings or food additions.
- A lot of times, when the body is adequately nourished, the craving for food automatically reduces. So the first step is to give the body adequate nutrition. For e.g. giving the body low glycemic and low insulin generating foods helps reduce carbohydrate shocks and subsequent cravings
- Indulge in your favourite physical activity. Physical activity produces a lot of endorphins and hence improves the serotonin levels. It also helps to change the state or mood of the person and hence reduces cravings
- If you are stressed and you know that you tend to take to food, then scientific techniques like havening work to calm your nerves
If food is an addiction for you and the other simple methods haven’t been sustainable for you, then you may want to take the help of a cognitive behavioural therapist or a specialist in mind and body processes to break patterns of food cravings
For more information on stress eating, refer to emotional eating.
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- The success rate of sustainability of weight loss and the ability to follow an appropriate nutrition plan is as low as 1%. Using scientific mind and body processes, we can improve it many fold
- Emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating and cravings are the biggest reasons for unsustainable weight loss. We identify the issue accurately and help you move out of the condition comfortably with scientific mind and body processes