We all know those sudden and almost irresistible cravings for something sweet… Who can escape those cravings? And let’s not forget the salty cravings that make us nibble on any fatty and processed product (pizzas, crisps, fast food, etc.).
These terrible craving attacks always come by surprise and especially when you are least able to resist them.
Are food cravings attacks caused by nutrient deficiencies?
Although certain disorders – such as sodium deficiency – seem to cause cravings, there is no conclusive evidence that these cravings are caused by nutrient deficiencies. It even seems relatively clear that cravings are probably caused by external factors – some of which are well identified such as sleep, eating habits, and to some extent gender (male / female) – and not by a lack of particular nutrients. . ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 )
Learn to trick as soon as a crisis of cravings is felt! Thanks to our advice, get back on top and stop being controlled by your hunger!
10 TIPS AGAINST CRAVING ATTACKS
Our tips are categorized by how quickly you can act on your cravings. Obviously you will probably be tempted to test the fastest ones first. But we encourage you to think about your strategy in the long term, and to try all these tips over the next few weeks in order to obtain more effective results.
1. DRINK WATER
The easiest thing to do to curb your hunger is to drink a large glass of water and then wait a few minutes. Even if your craving attack doesn’t go away completely, the water will fill your stomach and the urge to snack will be less pressing.
2. FIND A DISTRACTION
Who knew gaming on your laptop would help curb your cravings? Whether you’ve had a glass of water or not, it’s important to take your mind off things for a few minutes. A study found that playing Tetris on your smartphone for just 3 minutes can quell the cravings for snacking. ( 5 ) After all, why not give it a try?
3. DRINK COFFEE
Compared to water, coffee seems to have a greater impact on your appetite and food intake. Although research is still ongoing, coffee may alter your feelings of fullness. ( 6 ) What does this mean? Quite simply that you are less hungry. Right after having a cup of coffee, people seem to have less desire to eat. And even if you end up succumbing to your craving attack, you’ll still have a better chance of keeping it under control with coffee. Another study showed that decaf could help reduce the urge to eat even more.
4. BRUSH YOUR TEETH
This trick uses a double effect. When you brush your teeth, you send a signal to your brain that it is no longer time to eat. And even if your brain is not so easy to fool, the minty taste of toothpaste will ruin all the fun of eating. Your square of chocolate will not taste the same…
There are different types of cravings: sweet, salty, fatty. But sweet cravings are usually the hardest to control. In this article we offer additional tips – and also food alternatives – to reduce your sugar cravings!
5. EAT MORE PROTEIN
Proteins are your allies:
Increasing protein intake may reduce your food cravings ( 8 )
Eating more protein helps combat snacking and evening or nighttime cravings ( 9 )
Protein increases your feeling of fullness, so you’re less tempted to eat ( 10 )
6. EXERCISE, BUT DON’T FORCE IT
Before you start stringing together 100 burpees, consider this: an intense workout can make you even hungrier! Low-intensity activity, such as brisk walking or doing bodyweight exercises at home, can have the opposite effect. A study showed that low-intensity exercises would make you consume half as much chocolate! ( 11 )
7. EAT REGULARLY AND CONTROL YOUR HUNGER
The hungrier you are, the more likely you will not be able to resist a craving attack . It’s as simple as that ! It’s really hard to find effective solutions when hunger is literally eating you up . Plan your meals well in advance and make sure you have a healthy snack with you to combat cravings and the risk of snacking. It may also help to eat several small meals a day (for example, three main meals and two snacks between meals) to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Thus, you will effectively avoid cravings.
8. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Lack of sleep can affect your appetite and heighten craving attacks ( 12 ) . Unfortunately, we too often tend to forget the benefits of sleep when it comes to sports or weight loss.
The problem is that we very easily get used to sleeping less, and we don’t immediately notice the effect on the body… but also on the mind. You have mood swings, you are cranky, hungry. In general, we put it down to work, stress or lack of time. But more often than not, the real reason is lack of sleep! Sleep is very important for our physical and mental health .
9. EAT MINDFULLY
An Indiana State University experiment tested the effect of very short meditations before eating or during food compulsion phases (bulimia). The goal is to make participants aware of their behavior, their beliefs and the emotions they associate with food consumption. The results suggest a positive effect, as the frequency and severity of compulsive overeating attacks decreased in the group that practiced meditation ( 14 ) .
Although compulsive eating and food cravings are not comparable, they can sometimes coexist. Other more recent studies have explored the potential of meditation to alter these eating behaviors ( 15 ) .
10. THINK LONG TERM
It is unrealistic to believe that a craving attack can be stopped instantly, simply by force of mind or reason. But taking a step back and visualizing the long-term consequences can help you better control your cravings.