Thursday, 8 December 2016

9 Things Your Food Cravings Are Telling You

If you're not sure which emotion is causing your craving, think about this: For some people, the type of emotion that triggers a desire for food also influences the kind of food that's being craved. For example, if you can't stop thinking about having a giant Frappuccino or a tall glass of sweet iced tea, the cause may be boredom or lack of energy. Your mind wants to get revved up, so you crave energy-boosting, caffeine-filled treats.

Remember, everyone has cravings; they are completely normal. In studies conducted at Tufts University, researchers found that 91 percent of people experience food cravings. And the more you weigh, the more likely you are to crave high-calorie foods. Because cravings are a normal part of life, it's unrealistic to expect them just to go away. Tufts researchers found that even after 6 months of following a weight-loss eating plan, 94 percent of study participants continued to have cravings. Your best bet is to work with them. Get to know them. Understand them and create strategies to cope with them. That's the way to gain control over urges—any urges that lead to behaviors that you don't want—and instead lay the foundation for behaviors that get you to your goals.

Here are some other foods that are sometimes linked to specific emotions.

SWEETS

Sugar stimulates the release of the brain chemical dopamine, which mediates feelings of pleasure in the brain. And sugar and fat can help lower your blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If you're craving sweets, you may be feeling sad or bored, in need of some pleasure and happiness. Instead of sweets, try doing something fun, such as watching a funny movie or connecting with a fun friend.

More: 19 Ways to Give Up Sugar

Chocolate

Often referred to as the food of the gods, chocolate is satisfying in many ways—its luscious smell, its creamy taste, the way it feels when it melts on the tongue. Chocolate delivers pleasure and satisfaction, and it can trigger the release of the same brain chemicals that are produced during sex. You may think of chocolate when you are hungry for sensual pleasure in your life. Spending time with your honey may help reduce your desire for chocolate.

Cheese

Dairy foods contain amino acids that stimulate the release of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical that soothes and relaxes. If you're hankering for a grilled cheese sandwich, pizza, or a huge slab of lasagna, you may be feeling stressed or anxious. A few minutes of meditation may chase away your desire for cheese.


Fatty foods

Full of calories, fat fills your belly up when it's empty—and for some people, it can help fill emotional emptiness, as well. You may crave fat when you're feeling lonely, bored, unchallenged, or sad. Hanging out with friends, starting a new project, or even doing a crossword puzzle may help you avoid high-fat binges.

Crunchy foods

Eating chips, cheese curls, buttery caramel corn, and other crunchy foods can help you release feelings of anger, tension, regret, bitterness, or frustration. Instead of chowing down on crunchy junk, try chewing up celery, carrots, and other healthier crunches such as nuts instead. Or snack on air-popped popcorn with Cajun seasoning, Butter Buds, or low-fat cheese sprinkles.


Fried foods

A desire for crunchy, fried foods (fried chicken or fish, french fries, corn curls) can also be a sign that you are looking for excitement. Instead of eating, try doing something that's really out there for you—sign up for sky diving lessons, take up a new sport, or try that new online dating service you've heard good things about.

Creamy foods

Hot cocoa with whipped cream, cream cheese, pudding, and other creamy foods represent comfort and soothing, and you may crave them when you feel like the world has been beating you up a bit. Instead of giving in and having creamy, high-calorie foods, try sharing your feelings with a friend or taking a hot bath.


Hot or cold foods

Your desire for soup, hot cocoa, café au lait, or even a superspicy burrito may simply mean you're cold rather than hungry. Likewise, your interest in ice cream or other frozen treats may just be your reaction to a rise in mercury. Instead of eating, try a change of temperature; wrap yourself up in a thick blanket if you're cold, or turn up the AC if you're hot.

Carbohydrates

Eating high-carb foods—such as bread, pasta, cookies, and cake—provides comfort. That's because carbs boost brain levels of serotonin, a chemical that soothes you. You may go for high-carb foods when you feel depressed, tired, or upset and in need of soothing. Instead of loading up on carbs, look for other ways to comfort yourself. Take a nap, listen to relaxing music, go for a walk by a lake, or give your mom or someone you love and trust a call.

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