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Food Cravings: A Quick Guide

Real hunger? Or emotional eating? Knowing the difference can help prevent food addiction.

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Craving sweets? You might need sleep.
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By Fionna Agomuoh

03/20/12

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Crack may be wack, but food can get you just as hooked. Professionals give many explanations of why people experience unhealthy food cravings—such as our prehistoric ancestors' need for high-fat foods for survival. Whatever the reasons, constantly giving into food cravings can be hazardous. The Times of India offers some handy suggestions on how you can control cravings and guard against food addiction:

  • Salt cravings are linked to low sodium. So if you lack sodium, you may crave salty foods like French fries or potato chips. But lots of high salt foods can lead to high blood pressure. Instead, choose milk or cheese and toast to satisfy these cravings.
  • Sweet cravings may happen when you're low on energy. When glucose levels drop, your body may crave sweets to replenish blood sugar reserves. But lots of high sugar foods can lead to diabetes. Fruits and complex carbs can be a better way to better replenish dropping blood sugar levels.
  • Chocolate cravings may happen with you're feeling down, because chocolate releases serotonin in your brain—which increases happiness and pleasure. A cube of dark chocolate will quell chocolate cravings, providing the health benefits that come from chocolate without overdoing it.
  • Spicy foods are not inherently unhealthy—but spices are often added to high fat, processed foods that are. Spicy and fattening food combinations can be highly acidic, which is unhealthy and can cause excessive sweating. Avoid spicy foods if your body can't handle them.
  • Carb cravings are linked to evolution—prehistoric humans ate lots of carbs to fuel their high activity levels. We crave them still—but tend not to maintain the activity level to be able to eat large amounts without fat storage and weight gain. Plan and regulate carb consumption: eat carbs before workouts and during busy times, and favor healthy carbs over processed carbs.

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