You should conquer sudden cravings if you want to be successful in losing weight. We explain why and how food cravings develop and what warning signs you can look out for. We also give you tips on foods that stop cravings.
Cravings do differentiate between sweets and savory foods. With all attacks, however, your willpower suddenly dwindles and you reach for unhealthy sweets full of cravings. And then you’re probably wondering afterwards how it could have happened.
Many people trying to lose weight are distressed after a craving and can’t figure out why it happened. After all, you’ve been eating healthily all day. But in the evening you are overcome by the desire for a lot of unhealthy food.
This phenomenon can not only be explained and recognized in advance – there are also tips on how to stop and avoid your cravings.
There are numerous reasons for the development of cravings for certain foods. A common reason is that you are actually thirsty. Instead of drinking water, grab candy or chips. That means you mistook thirst for hunger.
If you eat something sweet at this moment, you are absorbing carbohydrates, which are quickly converted into blood sugar in the body. The blood sugar level then rises, which subsequently causes the pancreas to release more insulin. The blood sugar level drops rapidly, after which you actually develop more hunger and cravings. A vicious circle has begun.
In addition to insulin, there are other hormones that influence the feeling of hunger. These include cortisol, norepinephrine, serotonin and various growth hormones.
Cortisol is released when you experience too much stress. This often happens in everyday life. They rush to different meetings, do several tasks at the same time or have to balance work and family. You don’t have time to eat during the day. If you get some rest in the evening, the cortisol level rises and the feeling of hunger hits you with full force.
At that moment you just want to reward yourself for the hard day. A similar phenomenon is offered by frustration eating. Unpleasant experiences during the day or too much stress will eventually get you to the point where you are frustrated and stuff yourself with a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate all at once.
If you sleep too little, more ghrelin will be released. This stimulates the appetite. Lack of sleep makes you ravenous, as even studies that the medical journal reports show.
Cravings are not always due to lack of sleep or stress. In certain cases, cravings can also indicate a nutrient deficiency. If you always reach for chocolate when you have cravings, you could be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Raw cocoa in particular provides magnesium, your body has recognized that. The craving for cheese can also be justified by a deficiency symptom. In this case, you lack vitamins A and B12, salt and calcium.
If the food cravings cause you to suffer, you should take this as a warning sign. Such an excessive appetite is usually due to physical or mental disorders. Within the framework of the physical disorder, there are usually thyroid diseases or a previously undiscovered diabetes disease. Even migraine sufferers are not protected from it. Here the ravenous hunger indicates the approaching headache. Mental disorders provide a pathological craving, especially in the case of depression.
If the food cravings come at shorter and shorter intervals or even every day, you should see a doctor. If you have already become very overweight or if you have to vomit after the attacks, you should also seek treatment.
Other symptoms of needing treatment include constant hunger with high food consumption and weight loss, or feeling constantly stressed, anxious, or depressed. If you experience headaches and visual disturbances after the food cravings, you should think about migraines and get treated accordingly.
Physical signals after a food craving can also show up in the gastrointestinal tract. See your doctor if you have subsequent diarrhea or constipation. You shouldn’t just dismiss stomach pain either.
There are different types of cravings. The most common is cravings for carbohydrate-rich and sweet foods. There are also people who constantly have an appetite for something salty or develop cravings in the evening hours.
Anyone who likes sweets and carbohydrates here experiences situations in which they are hypoglycemic. This can easily happen when trying to lose weight. You forbid carbohydrates during the day and don’t get really full either at breakfast or at lunch. By the afternoon at the latest, you will notice that you are no longer efficient because the brain lacks glucose and amino acids. As a result, you develop a craving for sweets.
Some people lack serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. They then increasingly reach for sweets that satisfy them. However, the moment of happiness does not last long.
If you tend to develop an appetite for salty foods during your food cravings, you should consult your family doctor. Previously undiagnosed diseases such as diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders or blood pressure fluctuations are often the cause.
The desire for salty things can also be shown by a lack of minerals. This can be caused by excessive sweating, unhealthy snacks or too long breaks from eating. They may have overexerted themselves mentally or live a very unhealthy life overall. Sometimes a lack of sleep is also behind it. A special form here is the craving for cheese in stressful situations. In this case, there is a calcium deficiency.
If you develop cravings in the evening, you either did without carbohydrates during the day or simply didn’t eat anything at all for too long. This stresses the body and at a certain point it releases cortisol. In the evening, the level is so high that you grab anything that is fun to eat, but mostly unhealthy.
If you often suffer from food cravings, you should take this seriously and think about your entire diet. It is important to be able to interpret what your body is trying to tell you. This is the only way you can take targeted countermeasures.
If you have a craving for chocolate, your body is lacking in magnesium and glucose. Eat a banana or a handful of nuts, reward him healthy.
If you like to eat sweets when you have ravenous hunger pangs, there is also a lack of glucose. Balance it out with banana, dried fruit, or nuts. Glucose is also missing from cakes. Replace this with vegetables, fruit and whole grain products.
You want to cook yourself and healthy, but don’t have time to go shopping?
Chips and salty nuts indicate a lack of salt. Instead, eat whole grain bread with butter and salt and a few olives. Burgers or pizza also indicate a lack of salt. Vegetable sticks with hummus, hard-boiled eggs or nuts are better suited here.
Meat cravings indicate a lack of iron and vitamin B1. Replace it with legumes like lentils, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds. As already described, cheese lacks calcium, but also vitamin A, B12, salt and energy. If you like, salmon, broccoli, and quality cheese provide alternatives to balance.
If you eat apples all the time, you lack water. So drink plenty of water and try other types of fruit from time to time. With the constant reach for fried things, fatty acids are particularly lacking. You can also compensate for this very well with avocado bread and fish.
Also interesting: Less sugar: This is how you conquer your addiction to sweets
There are a few things that are very successful in preventing cravings from occurring in the first place. We have put together a few tips for you.
Eat regularly: Regularly does not mean all the time, but at fixed times and evenly distributed throughout the day. Plan breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so that the meal breaks don’t get too long. However, the breaks are important so that you develop feelings of hunger. Eat slowly and wisely. Choose your food consciously and healthily.
Don’t skip breakfast: Many people find that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight faster. Make your morning meal high in protein. This keeps you full for longer and keeps your blood sugar level constant. This way they can get through until noon without cravings.
Use the power of proteins: if you start in the morning, proteins should also determine your further menu. For example, eat quark, beans and chicken. So you have enough energy throughout the day and your blood sugar level does not take a rollercoaster ride.
Drink enough and properly: On the one hand, you should take in a sufficient amount of liquid per day. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a daily amount of 1.5 liters. If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first. If you have confused hunger and thirst, the problem is solved and you will not reach for an (unhealthy) snack by mistake. If you still experience cravings between meals, a cup of tea will help. The warm drink curbs the appetite, especially if you’re drinking green or mint tea.
Exercise daily: It should be half an hour of physical activity a day. Exercise burns calories effectively, especially when it’s an exercise like weight training. If you exercise regularly and for a long time, this will permanently curb your appetite and develop a normal feeling of hunger. Just like you know it from childhood.
Be honest: Every time you experience a craving, you should ask yourself why it is happening now and why you want to reach for chocolate or gummy bears at this very moment. Become aware of when you eat and what you eat. If you have difficulties in this area, contact a nutrition counseling center. Here you will be professionally supported and safely accompanied in your project.
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At Focus, we’ve thought about which recipes we can use to offer you a way to counteract the food cravings.
We have developed four breakfast ideas for a successful start to the day.
These recipes are ideal for lunch and dinner, with which you lose weight but still feel full.
There are also great snacks for in between, which stop cravings and which you shouldn’t miss out on.