Could Your Food Cravings Be Sabotaging You?
By Joan Kent, PhD
How perfect would it be if food cravings were for broccoli and kale?
But those aren't the kinds of foods we tend to crave. Why not? Because they don't change brain chemistry.
Cravings tend to be for foods that feel like comfort foods: from cookies and other treats to plain old mac and cheese. Foods with sugar, flour and/or fats are the go-to comfort foods – and the ones we crave – because they're big brain-chem changers.
Two ways that cravings can sabotage us are: 1) by derailing a weight-loss plan, and 2) by derailing our work productivity.
Cravings and Weight Loss
Cravings may prompt us to eat the foods we crave. Before you say, "Duh", that's not as obvious as it seems. It's definitely possible to eliminate cravings so they don't make us eat those foods.
But let's say you haven't eliminated the cravings, and you eat what you're craving. Those foods will often make you eat more – not only more of the craved stuff, but also more food in general.
The endorphins (beta-endorphin) triggered by sugary foods, for example, can inhibit the part of the brain responsible for satiety – the feeling that we've had enough food and don't need any more for a while. And the meal can keep on going.
Those endorphins can also make us eat different foods than we typically would. They might lead us to eat more sugar, more fat, or both. Even if you're just looking for something sweet, that sweet will often contain fat, too – and far more calories than you expected.
Obviously, weight-loss suffers as a result. An effective short-term fix for any craving is a teaspoon of liquid B-complex. (Please check with your doctor to be sure you can safely use this strategy.)
If your doctor gives you the okay, the craving will be gone in a matter of minutes. It really works.
Cravings and Work Productivity
If you eat sweet or starchy foods when you crave them, both trigger lots of insulin. That can cause sleepiness or "fogginess", and you may need a caffeine fix.
It's especially true for folks who are carb-sensitive – who produce more insulin after eating sugar or white flour, for example.
Who is carb sensitive? Typically, anyone with a family history of hypertension, alcoholism, diabetes, hypoglycemia, or obesity.
Extra caffeine may battle sleepiness, but it's temporary. It may also lose its effectiveness if you've already had lots of coffee that day. Staying alert and productive is much easier (and takes less caffeine) when you balance out insulin-triggering foods with protein and lots of vegetables.
If you'd rather not eat animal proteins, mix some vegetable protein powder with water. It will provide more protein than nuts, which are fats, not protein.
Have that protein powder mixture anytime you've been giving in to comfort food cravings. If you're on top of things, have it before you indulge. It won't reverse all the effects of sugar and flour, but it can help.
If you're looking for help in eliminating cravings permanently, or in eating for focus or weight loss, perfect! That's what I do. Visit http://www.LastResortNutrition.com and request your free Empowered Eating Consult. Find out how easy it can be to make simple changes that help you feel fantastic.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.