Craving junk food is something that most of us have experienced. Often, we attribute our cravings to a lack of self control. Is that really the answer? Before you get down on yourself, let’s explore some other possible causes.
According to a study performed by researchers at UC Berkeley, your junk food cravings can be linked to how much sleep you get. When participants had a sleepless night, their brain literally functioned differently. Areas in the brain that control complex decision making were impaired while the more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire were amplified. This led to participants choosing to eat more calorie dense and unhealthy foods.
The average recommendation for sleep is 7-8 hours for adults. For some people, more sleep may be needed. It is particularly important to get plenty of sleep if you want to be a well rounded, healthy individual. Your body is able to repair and heal itself while you sleep, and now we know that sleep can also help you beat those junk food cravings too!
Your body NEEDS water and lots of it. When you’re dehydrated, organs like your liver have trouble releasing some glycogens and other components of your energy stores. This may cause you to crave foods, specifically sweets. To combat this, drink plenty of water. I aim for a gallon each day. You can also choose to eat foods with a high water content. Fruits in particular can help with dehydration and the sweet cravings. Try things like watermelons, cantaloupe, berries, pineapple, grapefruit, and peaches.
Long story short, if your body is lacking the nutrients it needs due to a poor diet, you will have cravings. It’s one way for your body to let you know it’s in need of something. To combat this, eat regularly and stick with nutrient dense foods…particularly fruits and veggies. Go for dark leafy greens, broccoli, pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, and sweet potatoes just to name a few good choices.
LOW CARB DIETS
Your body’s first choice in energy supply is carbs. Carbohydrates fuel our everyday systems including the brain which predominately uses glucose. Diets that lower carbohydrate intake drastically can cause you to crave carbs more than ever because you are denying your body and brain the energy and fuel that it needs. Carbs are NOT your enemy. The trick is to choose healthy carbs to fuel your body. Gravitate towards fruits, veggies, and whole grains instead of processed junk food.
Now it’s time for you to do some work of your own. If you constantly find yourself craving junk food, try out some of these tips and see if they help you! Share your experience with The Tribe in the comments below.