Cravings: What Do They Really Mean?

Cravings: What Do They Really Mean?

We all experience food cravings, especially at times of stress, and more often than not, these cravings include an emotional reaction.

In fact, resisting our urges to eat foods we know are bad for us can be one of the toughest hurdles to weight loss.

One way to overcome our cravings is to establish what our body is really telling us to eat so that we can provide it with the nutrients it is lacking, meaning healthier bodies and more successful weight loss!

Why Do We Crave Certain Foods?

We equate cravings with bad foods because we have evolved to crave quick-release calories, which allow the body to feel ‘safe’ during stressful times, so these easy calories can reassure us that we don’t need to stay in survival mode.

However, the problem with the modern world is that many processed foods use fats with salty and sweet tastes to hide ingredients that lack nutrition, meaning that we can’t trust our instincts to tell us that we’re eating the right foods anymore.

As children, many of us were often given sweets as a treat or a reward for good behavior, so this is why sweets will continue to have a soothing effect, and this type of conditioning is hard to control later in life.

Furthermore, some of the foods we crave trigger the release of serotonin in the brain, and researchers have found that stronger cravings are directly linked to low serotonin levels in some individuals.

What Do Our Cravings Really Mean?

However, many times when we crave certain foods, it’s because we are actually lacking in these essential nutrients. This table shows what your cravings really mean:

What Do Our Cravings Really Mean?

How To Manage Cravings

This chart certainly shows how your cravings could be managed and even controlled by choosing healthier options rather than the cookies or chips we tend to crave at times of stress.

However, prevention is better than cure, so to help reduce the chance of craving these bad foods in the first place and risking a slip-up, it’s important to incorporate these healthier food sources of often-lacking nutrients into your diet as a matter of course.

What’s more, many of us tend to crave one type of food in particular, so by eating more healthy food sources of the mineral related to this craving, we can address a potential deficiency in this nutrient while also helping to control our main cravings.

It is also very interesting to note that researchers found that the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain connected with emotions, has a relatively high concentration of magnesium, which could explain how cravings are a natural response to the need to balance our emotions.

For this reason, it’s important to take actions to boost your mood and psychological well-being while aiming to lose weight.

Lacking energy can also weaken our resolve to resist cravings. This is why we often wander to the vending machine around 3 pm when our energy levels are at their lowest.

This way, we can also avoid confusing these signals of deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals for cravings for less healthy foods, meaning that long-term weight maintenance is even more achievable.

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