The most remarkable fact about nature is that she has a way for us to fulfill every craving. When you are home watching TV and you suddenly crave for ice cream or chocolate. You rush down to your refrigerator and you quickly get your bowl of ice cream to enjoy. Sometimes, you even think you can’t do without junk foods when you are hungry.
However, there is a difference between hunger and cravings. When you crave for something, the feeling is from your brain. When you are hungry, the feeling is from your stomach. This is when you eat and your stomach will be full. When you crave for something, it is either your brain is telling you that you need some nutrient or you need to take something sweet.
The most popular foods we crave are chocolate, sugar, ice cream, cheese and other carbohydrates. Sometimes, we have cravings due to our desires and emotions. According to Drewnowski, a professional researcher on taste and food preferences, she said, “Food cravings arise to satisfy emotional needs, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety”. Most times we have cravings when we are stressed or worried about something. The food we crave for, especially carbohydrates have a calming effect.
Is that bowl of ice cream or a plate of French fries calling your name? Here are reasons why you have food cravings.
There is a body hormone called Leptin, which stimulate your appetite and let you know that you are full. The hormone works well when your stomach and brain are working together. But there is a problem when your leptin starts telling your brain that you need food even when you are not hunger. This is usually caused by too much body fat or when you have a regular diet of processed carbs and sugary foods. The sugar activates your fat cells to release streams of leptin. The constant flow of leptin can lead to its resistance which can cause your inability to perceive your real appetite. The best way to stabilize this process is to eat healthy and balanced diet always, avoid processed carbs and sugary foods. It will keep a normal balance of leptin in your body and reduce your cravings.
When you eat sugar and carbohydrates, serotonin, a neurotransmitter is released into your body, which is to make you feel good temporarily. The neurotransmitter is directly tied to our appetite, mood, and digestion. So, when you have a low level of serotonin in the body, your body starts telling you that you need that bowl of ice cream to make you feel good. Serotonin can be low in the body due to alcohol consumption, depression, poor health, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. It is a normal thing to be more vulnerable to sugar and junk foods when you are feeling depressed or sad. I do it a lot.
Endorphins in our body make us feel relaxed. Eating carbs and sugary foods increase the production of Endorphins. When we eat sugary foods, we want more – same with those addicted to alcohol and drugs. Fat and sugar can cause addictive eating because of their rapid rate of absorption. Therefore, the more you avoid packaged and processed foods, the more you have control over your choice of food. When your diet isn’t healthy, you crave for more foods.
Your emotions – depression, sadness, stress, boredom, negative body image and poor self-esteem can cause you to crave for sugary foods and carbs. When you have a bad day or relationship breakups, you can also have food cravings. The thing about food cravings is that they come with full force and disappear within an hour, when it comes, you can choose to eat healthy food or allow it to overcome by eating sugary and fatty foods. When you eat healthy foods, you will be satisfied in the moment while the craving time passes over.