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Food cravings...what do they mean?

Posted Feb 08 2008 4:19pm 1 Comment
You may have heard that if you get cravings for certain foods it means that you have a nutrient deficiency. Your body is trying to tell you to eat a food rich in that nutrient.

Sorry to burst your bubble if you believed that was true. Come on now, do you really think that yearning for chocolate is caused by magnesium deficiency?

Cravings are actually a desire to feel good.

How? High fat, high calorie foods (a.k.a. junk food) causes the body to release "feel good" chemicals. That's why when you are feeling especially stressed or anxious, you decide to head to the nearest Dairy Queen for a large M&M blizzard!

Its interesting that women tend to crave cookies, ice cream, and other sweet foods, while men are more likely to reach for a bag of Doritos or go to Burger King for a Whopper.

Its possible that hormones play a role; PMS often brings on carbohydrate cravings for women.

How do you keep cravings from controlling you, rather than you controlling them? Here's a few tips:

**don't completely deny yourself as this can easily cause increased cravings

**control portion sizes of your "special indulgence" and eat slowly, savoring each bite

**try waiting the craving out. Get involved in another activity (a walk around the block?) and you may find that in 10 or 20 minutes the craving has subsided

**go for the good stuff...Godiva is meant to be eaten slowly!

**if you must have something, find a low calorie substitute. For example, if its chocolate you want, try a low cal pudding or fudgesicle

**try upping your protein intake, that may help, too

What strategies have you used to get the upper hand over your food cravings? Tell us by posting a comment...
Comments (1)
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I read once that chocolate has the same hormone in it that we experience when falling in love. No wonder I love it so much! It's true that you should find something lower cal. I love chocolate bars, so my dietitian fit one granola bar into my daily diet so that I could satisfy that craving at much less cost. Instead of ice cream, we buy frozen yogourt. It tastes the same but is much better. We also try to reach for air-popped popcorn for our movie snacks rather than give in to cravings for other, higher fat/carb/sugar treats. We're not always perfect but we often have veggies, cheese, and apples for a snack even though they might not be as "fun."
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