Got food cravings? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. One study reports that up to 97 percent of all women and 68 percent of all men have cravings of some sort. This includes the all-too-dangerous sugar munchies, which translate into powerful urges to eat something sweet—and then to keep on eating it. Admittedly, this is not a great idea for all sorts of reasons, but that doesn’t mean these sweet cravings are easy to disregard. Don’t worry, WellWell is here to help with five ways to break the sweet-eating munchies.
Cravings often occur because an individual’s cyclical blood sugar is out of whack. This imbalance is the product of a nasty cycle that happens when someone gobbles too much sugar, which in turn leads to rapid blood sugar spikes, and then insulin is released to lower them to safer levels. Unfortunately, sometimes too much insulin is released, which results in blood sugar levels getting too low, fostering yet another sugar craving. These cycles can last days or even weeks. Recognizing what’s happening is the first step to breaking this dangerous roller coaster.
Don’t get enough sleep and chances are hormones will be released that will trigger cravings for quick-energy foods like sugar. The process aims to generate enough energy to make a body feel awake, but what it is ultimately doing is causing people to overeat. Need proof? People who sleep poorly are 55 percent more likely to become obese than those who snooze well.
Acute stress is bad for people. But it also means the brain burns 12 percent more energy than usual. That in itself isn’t a problem, however, the process of delivering extra energy to the brain can lead to false sugar-craving hunger signals sent to the rest of the body. These signals usually lead to people overeating all the wrong things, like a tub of vanilla bean ice cream. The obvious solution is to avoid stress. But that’s not always easy. Having healthy “stress snacks” around that provide protein, water or slower-burning carbohydrates will help people avoid sugary alternatives.
Failure to hydrate opens a dangerous gateway that is too often filled by sugar cravings. Essentially, the body interprets dehydration as hunger. A severe lack of water effectively undermines glycogen metabolism, which in turn leads to sugar cravings to provide energy boosts. The solution is easy. Make sure to drink eight glasses a day. The water will help release glycogen and make a person feel full.
Getting enough protein is a great way to offset cravings because it metabolizes more slowly than sugar, which in turn keeps people feeling full and thwarts cravings and overeating in general. Skipping a protein-heavy breakfast, for example, results in significant cravings throughout the day, which consequently fosters obesity, especially in the young. Consuming sufficient protein at any age is a great way to offset cravings. One study underscored this when it reported that raising the percentage of protein in men’s diets to 25 percent reduced their food cravings by 60 percent.
Are there other natural ways to break cravings and suppress appetite? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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