Some experts view carbohydrate craving and addiction as more of the body than the mind, meaning that biological factors are generally considered the main trigger for carbohydrate cravings. These cravings are described as a craving or craving for carbohydrate-rich foods; a recurring and growing need or urge for starches, snacks, junk food, or sweets.
This is where the cycle of carbohydrates and cravings begins. Convenient, comforting, high-sugar, refined starch foods fuel addiction like a drug. This results in high blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to more cravings. The situation also results in higher levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that acts like Prozac. People eat sweets to ‘raise’ the sugar.
Another factor that contributes to overeating and eating sweets is stress. When we are tense, the adrenal gland produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol stimulates the production of a brain chemical called ‘neuropeptide Y’.
This is a kind of carbohydrate craving switch. Apart from this, neuropeptide Y also makes the body hold on to the new body fat that we produce. In other words, stress not only triggers carbohydrate cravings, it also makes it difficult to lose additional weight. Cortisol also stimulates insulin, which leads to drops in blood sugar and fat storage.
It is a vicious cycle that feeds itself over and over again.
Food is not just a biological necessity; it also has an emotional element. Something in our emotional state, particularly a negative one, evokes a need for “comfort” food. By dealing with the problem behind your cravings, you produce emotional relief that can reduce or even eliminate the urge to overeat.
In general, most experts agree that by eating enough healthy foods at mealtimes and having a healthy snack in the afternoon, people can minimize their cravings for sweets.
Here are recommendations to curb carbohydrate cravings
1. Eat less but more often. Eat small meals or snacks that contain some PROTEIN every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Skipping meals lowers blood sugar levels, leaving you craving processed carbohydrates and sweets for energy.
2. Be selective about the carbohydrates you eat. Avoid nutrient-free foods made from white flour, white rice, refined sugar, and highly concentrated sweeteners. Look for foods high in fiber, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, that will level your blood sugar.
3. Don’t skimp on protein to “make room” for large amounts of carbohydrates. Protein gives the body extended energy, helps balance blood sugar, and keeps cravings at bay.
4. Limit your consumption of alcohol, fruit juices, and caffeinated beverages. These cause an abrupt rise in blood sugar followed by bothersome low blood sugar levels, leaving you without energy.
5. Eat small portions of seasonal treats AFTER meals or snacks that contain protein, if they do. If you eat sweets on an empty stomach, you will experience low blood sugar levels that will trigger a craving for more sweets.
6. Avoid starving during shopping trips and while traveling. Bring high-protein snacks like nuts, hard-boiled eggs, nutrient-balanced energy bars, or “green veggie” tablets like the ones listed. These high-powered foods are great when you feel energy draining.
7. Get enough sleep. When the body and mind are well rested, carbohydrate cravings often go away.
The techniques found in Maximize Your Metabolism and the diet tips found in The Living Health Weight Loss Audio emphasize using a nutritional lifestyle rather than carbohydrates for energy. This avoids falling into the carbohydrate craving cycle. It also counteracts hunger as a possible source of sweet cravings, as the feeling of fullness lasts longer with a protein and fat meal than with a carbohydrate meal.