In this article, we are going to talk largely about how to stop food cravings. At Forever Super Slim, we receive many questions about how to stop food cravings. The phrase ‘How to stop food cravings’ has 1300 search volume per month.
These are all people looking for answers just like you. Quite a popular subject, but also an indicator of a problem area that we must design a solution for.
We also get tons of questions about chocolate cravings and what they mean. Is chocolate even healthy? We have covered all this in this detailed article about how to stop food cravings.
Food cravings can be stopped by drinking plenty of water, eating on time, and eating nutrient-rich foods. Nutrient-rich foods can help you with nutrient deficiencies which are sometimes the cause of food cravings.
What are food cravings?
A food craving, according to Wikipedia, is an intense desire to consume a specific food. It is different from the usual hunger.
Surprisingly, chocolate or the desire for chocolate-related foods tops the list of food cravings that people struggle with. This craving has been referred to as chocoholism. Actually, there is some medical evidence to support the existence of chocolate addiction. This would actually bring you some questions like;
Is chocolate actually good for your health?
Chocolate is not entirely as bad. It has quite a number of health benefits which might slightly support the intense craving that people struggle with.
We have written an article that throws good light on the subject of chocolate. This article partly leans to the side of weight loss but brings out important details about chocolate. You will also learn about the types of chocolate, health benefits, and side effects of eating chocolate. Check it out here.
What causes food cravings? (The general picture)
Food cravings need a little bit of a more scientific approach in explanation. We don’t have much experience in body science and related subjects. However, we have tried to give you the layman’s approach to this subject.
You will need to do a more detailed study (on the body and its science) on your end in order to fully understand the subject of food cravings.
Your food cravings could be caused by any of the following aspects.
They could be caused by areas of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward.
In this study, the craving was found to be caused by areas in the brain responsible for pleasure and reward. This means that while you crave a type of food, your brain has determined that you will feel a certain way after eating that food. This is most probably true if you have eaten this particular food before.
Hormonal imbalance could also cause food cravings
The hormones serotonin and leptin imbalance can also cause cravings. This gets clearer while you look at the uses of these two hormones in the body.
Serotonin is responsible for overall feelings of well-being and happiness. Even though it’s biological function is more difficult to explain, feeling and well-being gives a good summary.
Leptin, according to Wikipedia, helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. In obesity, leptin sensitivity is affected which means satiety levels are not detectable, at least not easily.
From the two explanations above about the hormones (for which you would need to do more in-depth research), it is clear that any imbalance in these hormones can result in craving or overindulgence.
Emotions are another cause of food craving
When you are stressed or angry, you might sometimes desire food (sometimes a specific type of food ) hoping that after consumption, you will feel better. This is the common cause of food craving among many people today.
The case of pregnancy
Hormonal changes happen during pregnancy, which is the reason why many pregnant women have strong cravings. Some changes in hormones alter taste and smell which causes you to desire a particular food intensively (could be for reasons of its smell or taste).
The idea that the body lacks some nutrients
There is an assumption that food cravings can also be the body’s way of saying that you have some nutrient deficiencies.
This is quite shaky because it doesn’t take into account the cravings for unhealthy foods, especially those foods with almost zero nutritional value. However, the argument may be true on the side of healthy foods.
It could simply be a habit
Craving certain foods can also come from something as simple as a habit of having that particular food (possibly at a particular time). A good example can be a cake that you usually eat at a certain time of day.
You will find that you will have that particular craving, especially on the days when you cannot have that cake or because you are out of reach so you just don’t have the means to get it to you.
The craving will not be as strong and may go unnoticed on the days when the cake is easily accessible to you. (Because; the moment you think about it, there you have it)
Brain food triggers
The subject of food cravings is much more complex; however, it is believed and almost looks like it’s all in your head. This is because; food cravings are usually triggered by activities like; looking at yummy food pictures and smelling certain food aromas while they are cooking.
You have most probably had the experience of following that food Instagram channel. You will find yourself wanting to eat those foods your mind has picked up.
These can also be a sign of dehydration
Food cravings can be a sign of dehydration, which means you are thirsty and just need water. Sugar craving is the commonest in this case because the energy stored is not released due to the lack of enough fluids.
Your body, at this point, asks for an immediate source of energy, which in most cases is sugar.
Most common food cravings and what they mean. How to stop food cravings.
Dealing with food cravings is easy; just take a little more time to look at the reasons behind the craving.
1. Chocolate cravings
These are the most common cravings you will hear of. The chocolate itself contains different nutrients depending on the type of chocolate you are consuming. Dark chocolate contains minerals like magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Selenium.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest chocolate you can consume, even though many people don’t like it because of its dull taste. Most of the other chocolates other than dark chocolate contain sugar, which is one of the reasons for the strong cravings of chocolate.
Read our article on the subject of chocolate here. You will learn what the best types of chocolate are.
Reasons for chocolate cravings and how to curb them
- Sugar is top of the list of possibilities
Solution: Drink enough water daily as this can be a sign of dehydration.
- Hunger could be the other reason for chocolate cravings
Solution: Fill up on something else or grab a healthy meal. The thoughts about chocolate will soon leave you. Always eat on time, avoid long periods of hunger.
- Caffeine can be another reason as chocolate contains some caffeine.
Solution: Grab a cup of coffee or tea if you deem this a caffeine crave. You can also consume healthy chocolate instead. Dark chocolate is healthy and always a better alternative as it has many health benefits.
- These cravings could simply be out of habit. You are probably used to consuming too much chocolate.
Solution: Stick to mindful eating and ask yourself reasons why you really need to eat chocolate. We have written a post about mindful eating. This article will help you take a deeper dive into what it consists of and how it can be of help.
- Mineral deficiency like magnesium.
Solution: Consume dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate contains minerals like magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Selenium.
2. Sugar cravings
Sugar is one of the strongest food cravings that you will come across. It is a battle almost everyone has in their lifetime.
Reasons for sugar cravings and how to curb them
- Sugar cravings could mean dehydration; meaning that the body will be demanding for water.
Solution: Drink plenty of water when you feel this strong craving for sugar. The desire to consume sugar might just pass. As simple as that may sound, it is really helpful.
- The body could possibly be asking for energy. Sugar is one of the sources of fast energy, even though it is totally lacking in nutrients.
Solution: Rather than give into sugar cravings for reasons of energy, you can instead decide to eat fruit berries.
You can also consider consuming other fruits that are rich in sugar. Fruit sugars are much healthier than plain sugar as it has no nutrients at all.
You can also try dark chocolate which is the healthy version of chocolate. This will give you the benefit of the minerals in the chocolate.
- Hunger is another reason for sugar cravings. While you are hungry, sometimes this will be translated into sugar craving because your body needs energy.
Solution: Add proteins to your diet so that you can stay fuller for longer. You can also opt for fruits like berries and others that are sweet. These can be a good replacement for other added sugars which are empty calories.
Always eating on time and eating enough food will ensure you don’t get into the temptations of craving sugar.
3. Spicy food craving
For many, craving spicy foods is so that they can cool off their bodies. Others might need to cool off anger or even to feel that extra hype that chili brings. You must have heard people say “chili makes you a man”, well; this is where the craving comes from.
Researchers have found that eating spicy food increases your levels of testosterone, a hormone that is responsible for energy, mood, sex drive among others, especially in men. Women also produce this hormone even though at much lower levels than men.
Reasons for spicy food cravings and what you can do
- Craving spicy foods could mean testosterone levels are low.
Even though this is not concrete and might not be the case for everyone, it can hold greater truth in others. After having a good study at the hormone testosterone, you will find that this hormone also helps self-esteem and energy in men.
This is why a lack of these can be interpreted as a signal that this hormone is needed. This can translate into a craving for spicy foods. This is why many feel like ‘I am a man’ after consuming spicy foods because they help improve the production of this hormone.
- Your body may also just need to cool off. If you have noticed, spicy foods help you sweat which is helpful if you are feeling overheated.
What you can do about spicy food cravings
Consume regulated amounts of spicy foods when you feel the craving. You can also try other ways to increase the levels of testosterone; exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest, and taking supplements can all help to naturally improve your levels of testosterone.
Improved levels of testosterone can help carb spicy food cravings if the reason is around low levels of this hormone.
Exercising and breaking a sweat every single day or once in a while will also help cool off your body which may reduce cravings for spicy foods.
4. Salty food cravings
Salty food cravings can be seen in the desire for foods like chips, crisps, and salty snacks. The problem with most of these is they are processed foods that are not good at all to your health.
Reasons for salty food cravings and their solutions
- Salty food cravings can erupt from low levels of electrolytes. Common salt carries electrolytes such as sodium which when low, your body may signal through a salt craving.
- They can also come from dehydration, similar to the case of sugary food cravings. Your body needs a certain level of fluids to function well and if this level goes lower, your body can possibly start craving salt.
- Stress is another reason for salty food cravings. Adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol which helps the body when managing stress. People with higher levels of sodium release low levels of cortisol during stress. Craving salt might mean the body is trying to deal with stress.
- Pregnancy especially in the early stages can be another cause for intense salt craving. The early stages of pregnancy have much vomiting which leads to loss of fluids from the body. Salty food craving could be an indicator that you need to refill.
- Bartter syndrome is another major cause of salty food craving. This syndrome is characterized by the body’s inability to absorb salt which can cause you to crave salty food.
How you can deal with salty food cravings.
While you may at some point crave salty foods, always look beyond the craving. It might be an indicator of a more serious condition. It is important to seek the doctor’s advice in extreme or strong salty food cravings.
Drinking plenty of water is another way to curb salty food cravings. Also, ensure to keep constantly hydrated even after the craving has gone. This will help you keep the craving away and can also help you understand if it is a more serious condition when the craving keeps re-occurring.
Add electrolyte drops to your water if you have been vomiting. These can be oral rehydration salts from your pharmacy.
5. Caffeine cravings
Caffeine cravings are many times realized amongst coffee consumers since coffee contains large amounts of caffeine. Have you ever wondered why you always reach out for that cup of coffee? The reasons below may be part of what is happening.
Reasons for caffeine cravings
- It could simply be a coffee drinking habit. If you are used to having a cup of coffee in the morning, craving caffeine can just because of the habit you have constructed over the years.
- It is another way for many to cope with stress.
- Low levels of iron can sometimes be an indication. Lack of iron causes body weakness which is why you might crave caffeine to wake you up.
- Caffeine withdrawal symptoms also include headaches which is why you may crave caffeine to deal with them.
How to curb caffeine cravings
Seek a doctor’s advice if you constantly feel weak.
Rather than withdraw from coffee immediately, you can slowly reduce your daily consumption to avoid the headaches and other withdrawal symptoms
6. Cheese cravings
Cravings for cheese may simply be a sign of salty food cravings since some cheese foods are very salty. It might also be a craving for a diary. Stress and loneliness is another known cause of cheese food cravings.
How to deal with cheese cravings
Drink good amounts of water if you have been dehydrated. If you have been stressed or are feeling lonely, examining the causes and dealing with them can help you deal with future cravings for cheese foods.
How do you stop food cravings at night?
Staying awake for longer hours in the night is the major cause of night food cravings
1. Identify the cause of late food cravings.
This will be the first step in helping you deal with late-night food craving. A problem identified is half solved; that’s a popular saying you might have come across at some point.
2. Create a good routine that helps you.
Having a routine will help you deal with habits such as eating late. Food cravings at night can be simply because you made it a habit to eat that late.
3. Eat on time through the day
Long periods of hunger can be the issue that may cause you to crave food the night. Eating enough food and eating on time can help you deal with night food cravings.
4. Add proteins to your meals.
Proteins are essential and will help you feel fuller when you eat. This will help you deal with food cravings especially those in the night.
5. Plan to sleep early
If you one who hangs around doing nothing in the night, you will most times find yourself craving food. Sleeping early will help you deal with these food cravings.
Food cravings may sometimes be a bigger underlying issue. In any case, it is important to examine the reasons why you might be craving certain types of food. This will help you design solutions to solve these cravings in the long run. We hope this article answers most of your questions on how to stop food cravings.
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