We all know it, and we have all experienced the familiar feeling of a sudden craving for food. It can happen to us at any time. Maybe you had a tough day at work, so you buy yourself some fudge brownies to comfort yourself. Maybe you just started a new eating plan, but the sudden craving for chips has taken over. Food cravings seem to always come at us during times where we don’t want them to. The question is, what causes these food cravings?’
Common Causes of Food Cravings
There are many different causes of food cravings. Maybe you really miss that muffin that you had to cut out of your eating plan. Maybe you just wanted to grab some warm pizza for a quick bite to eat. Here are some common causes of food cravings.
Low Blood Sugar
Having low blood sugar levels can make you feel like you lack energy. This is due to you not consuming enough food or, more specifically, sugar, compared to how much energy you’ve spent. When your blood sugar levels fall, your body starts to trigger your cravings. It is essentially telling you to refuel before you do something else.
Having an imbalanced diet can negatively affect your body. You can end up lacking many vital nutrients and minerals. When you lack a certain nutrient, such as fat or protein, your body might make you crave something high in those nutrients. Make sure you consume a well-balanced diet.
Simply being dehydrated can make you have food cravings. Hunger and thirst are closely linked together, so if you drink a glass of water but still find yourself having a craving, chances are, it is a craving for food.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can lead to more cortisol secretion, which can lead to more food cravings. Cortisol is a hormone that makes you have more of an appetite for food, carbs in particular. Since food has a positive feeling on our mood once we eat it, it can help ease that anxiety and stress, so we seek it out.
Having a hormonal imbalance can lead to you suddenly developing random food cravings. It is good to pay attention to how you feel to see if you are starving or just having a hormonal imbalance.
Being tired can make you crave more food than if you felt less tired. Having a nice relaxing sleep re-energizes our bodies. Lacking that sleep, though, may lead to us looking elsewhere for more energy. This is where we end up craving food to increase our energy levels.
These causes of food cravings are something many of us experience each day. It may seem like it is out of control, but we can actually fight those cravings. How do you do that, you ask?
Ways to Fight Your Cravings
Fortunately, food cravings aren’t something that affects you permanently. You have to pay attention to some things in your body and be disciplined in what you consume. This way, you can reduce the number of food cravings you experience.
Sometimes, you may not actually be hungry or craving food. You may be dehydrated, so those cravings are just telling your body to get something in to quench your thirst. Instead of opting for some chips, go for a glass of water to wash those cravings away.
Enjoy an Activity
If you are starting to crave food, take your mind off it by doing something you enjoy doing. Read a book, go for a walk, take a bath, or any other activity. These activities can help keep your mind off of those food cravings and make you focus on the activity you are doing.
Eat More Protein
Every meal you eat throughout the day must have at least one source of protein in it. This is especially important if you are looking to build muscle. Protein sources, such as chicken and fish, can you help stay fuller for longer if you have them with your meal. The way they make you feel fuller is through the secretion of an appetite suppressant.
Find out how much protein your body needs to reach your goals by using our macro-calculator.
Sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup, are found in many of the foods you enjoy. They are found in bread and even some of your favorite frozen dishes! Having just a tiny amount of food with high fructose corn syrup can make you want it more. This leads to you craving it more than you should.
If you find yourself developing a food craving, go for a workout! A workout can let you take your mind off of whatever you’re craving, and you will burn calories doing it. It will clear your head and make you focus on improving your health. Next time you develop a sudden craving for something, get moving!
Eat More Fiber
Instead of going with foods that will leave you with a craving for more food, go for the ones that are high in fiber. Fiber can be great in helping keep you full while also aiding in digestion.
Get Some Sleep
Suffering from a lack of sleep can lead you to craving food for energy. Sleeping is important for our bodies to re-energize for the next day. Try getting 8 hours of sleep and see how your body responds.
A lot of food cravings can be treated by just taking your attention away from them. It just takes some willpower to do so.
Practice Mind Over Matter
Remember, food cravings mostly come from your mind. You may not be feeling hungry, but your brain will tell you, “Get a burger!” This is where distracting yourself can help you. Sometimes, just doing an activity that requires your attention will stop those food cravings. You may need to drink some water or get some more sleep. Whatever food cravings you are experiencing, try to determine if you’re actually hungry or it’s just cravings!