Do you have a sudden craving for chocolate? Welcome to the crowd! Evidence-based research shows that nearly everyone has food cravings from time to time. Young people tend to desire sweets more than the older population. But is it the taste that you really desire, the pleasant feelings associated with the food you choose, or do you just want it because you know you shouldn’t have it?
Studies demonstrate that food cravings activate the same reward circuits in the brain as cravings for drugs or alcohol, according to functional MRI scans. In addition, cravings appear to involve a combination of social, environmental and psychological factors.
So what can we do about our food cravings? Here are a few tips:
- Rather than restricting the food, try embracing and controlling the urge. Note what your thoughts and feelings at the time of your intense desire and challenge them. Researchers in Australia found that cognitive restructuring lessened the amount of craving food ingestion.
- Try adopting a regular walking routine. A new study from BYU in Utah showed that women who walked briskly on a treadmill for 45 minutes experienced a decreased neural response to food.
- Stave off your food craving for 30 minutes. Keep busy doing daily tasks or something fun. According to Dr. Pelchat, this practice weakens your habitual response.
The good news is that the longer you can delay giving into your craving, the weaker the craving becomes! Read this Wall Street Journal article about food craving:
How to Fend Off a Food Craving
New Research Challenges the ‘Body Knows What It Needs’ Theory; Where Men Differ From Women
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