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Rebel Nutrition: Looking at Food Cravings
Rebel Nutrition:looking at food cravings
Anisa ButtarThursday, September 27, 2007
They can occur anytime. They can occur anywhere. Food cravings can be sparked by smell, hunger or even the slightest glance at a co-workerâ€™s cupcake.
Dehydration, emotions and even food addictions can cause these unwelcome cravings.
Dr. James Braly, York Nutritional Laboratories Medical Director, says craving foods like cereal, grains and sugar may be signs of addiction.
â€œPeople with food cravings may actually have neurochemical and hormonal imbalances that trigger these cravings,â€ Braly said.
Symptoms of food addiction include headaches, insomnia, irritability and mood changes. These symptoms are temporarily relieved when the desired foods are eaten.
Most people crave processed carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, packaged snacks and candy. Bleached or enriched flours and sugars fit into this category as well.
While eating these foods, a personsâ€™ brain chemistry changes, resulting in an increased level of serotonin, and increased serotonin causes one to feel good after indulging in those snacks.
People who feel they are serotonin-deficient can increase their serotonin levels without turning to Little Debbie.
Braly suggests identifying and eliminating suspected food allergens, especially gluten, such as wheat, rye, oats, etc., and milk products. He also advises avoiding alcohol and stimulants. Exposure to sunlight, regular exercise and getting a good nightâ€™s sleep will naturally keep serotonin levels up.
The Mayo Clinic website, a website dedicated to health and wellness, defines emotional eating as â€œa way to suppress or soothe negative emotions such as stress, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness and loneliness.â€
The pleasure of eating delicious foods will offset sadness and may remind people of happy memories with certain foods.
Eating favorite foods can also serve as a distraction. Instead of focusing on pressing matters, a person will focus on the tasty food.
Cravings may also be caused by low fat intake or low blood sugar levels from inadequate eating during the day. They can also be triggered by simply smelling or seeing food. An example of this would be Cinnabon. The smell draws a person in and the sight of the warm, gooey, cinnamon pastry is irresistible.
Nutrition major Tina Debrowski knows how to handle cravings. She lost 25 pounds in 16 weeks on the Weight Watchers program this past spring.
â€œThe first week was tough,â€ Debrowski said. â€œBut I still use the techniques I learned while losing weight.â€
The best way to combat cravings is with self-control. First, one must identify if he/she is truly hungry.
An easy way to identify craving triggers is by keeping a log. According to the Mayo Clinic website, recording the time and quantity of foods eaten daily as well as oneâ€™s mood and feeling of fullness after eating is pertinent. After a couple days, one can pinpoint unnecessary and mindless eating.