Rewire Your Brain To Control Food Cravings
from Health Radar newsletter
Sept 22, 2015
Experts say that many people became programmed at a young age to enjoy high-calorie, unhealthy, processed foods. However, it is possible to rewire the pleasure centers in the brain to short circuit food cravings so they no longer become impossible to resist.
The mechanism underlying cravings for unhealthy foods is similar to that of drug addiction. In both cases, the substance triggers production of dopamine in the brain, and cravings are an urge to replicate the pleasurable release of dopamine.
With fast food, so many calories surge into the blood so quickly that the brain gets stimulated. Slow-digesting foods, such as beans and nuts, which feed calories slowly into the blood, does not cause future cravings.
The longer you stay away from the object of your craving, the more the cravings are reduced. Also, the craving for a specific snack only lasts about 15 minutes. If you can "tough it out" for 15 minutes, the craving will just go away on its own.
Cracking The Craving Code
Cravings can also be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. When the deficiency is corrected, the cravings often disappear.
If you crave sugary foods, you need chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, or tryptophan. Try eating fresh fruit, nuts, or vegetables.
If you crave salty foods, you need chloride or silicon. Try eating celery, tomatoes, lettuce, seaweed, cashews, or seeds.
If you crave fatty foods or dairy, you need calcium. Try eating broccoli, almonds, salmon, kale, legumes, low-fat dairy, or sesame seeds.
If you crave starchy foods, you need nitrogen. Try eating dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, eggs, chicken, or turkey.
If you crave chocolate, you need magnesium. Try eating nuts, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
Surprising Craving Triggers
Studies have identified two surprising triggers of cravings and weight gain:
We are more likely to crave sugary and starchy foods at night when we are tired. Making matters worse, our bodies are rigged to store more calories at night. This was an effective survival mechanism a long time ago, when food was scarce, but works against us today. Eating protein for breakfast can help to reduce evening cravings.
Compared to regular soda, diet soda makes people choose higher-calorie snacks and feel less satisfied with food. Other research has found that artificial sweeteners change gut bacteria in a way that promotes weight gain and diabetes.
Try snacking on nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit and cheese. Instead of a sudden surge of blood sugar, these healthy snacks slowly release glucose into the blood stream. While fruit is rich in natural sugars, eating fruit with cheese or another protein slows down the absorption of the sugars, so you get the benefits of the nutrients in the fruit with less downside of the sugars.
Once the cravings for unhealthy foods decrease and your taste buds change, the natural desire for nutrient-rich foods will take precedence. At that point, you will have achieved freedom from cravings....and sticking to a healthy diet and losing weight will have become much easier.