The Science Behind - Food Cravings

Some may argue that toothache is the worst kind of pain. But there is another fact we can all agree on, and that is food cravings. We are no strangers to it, and some of us have a sweeter tooth than others. 


We love to keep fit but go through various difficulties to achieve that dream body or to become a better athlete. Because we are all human, and cravings sometimes get the best of us. This can occur in many forms like the sweets you receive on Diwali or getting another slice of cake or pizza, the second bag of chips for the binge-watch, etc. But have you ever wondered why do the cravings occur in the first place, and how can you get rid of them? 

 

What goes behind a craving?

Chocolates, sweets and many processed foods result in a rush of hormones in the body called endorphins. It is that happy feeling after eating a piece of chocolate. And no, for those looking to cheat their way out of diet regimens, diets are not the source of your cravings. A research study showed that diets and cravings have no substantive link. So why are you craving something delicious?


Your brain has a reward centre that also deals with memory and the feeling of pleasure. This can easily remember the delicious full-course meal you had at the restaurant and urge you to have something similar again. But these cravings last no longer than 3-5 minutes. And guess who is responsible for this?


Id, Ego and Superego

To learn more about cravings, you need to know about this trio. The id is the primitive, aggressive voice in your mind that wants every desire to be gratified instantly. But before you panic, your superego, the moral conscience, holds you back from these primitive desires. Ego, though often misused today, is a term used in psychology that refers to the part of the brain that makes rational decisions when you feel torn apart by the other two.


So where does this come into play with food? Cravings are nothing but the Id continually bugging you to eat the delicious slice of cake. Though the Superego and the Ego take over your choices as you mature, this does not suppress the Id completely, which results in the latter checking up on you sometimes. Here are two tips for you to deal with food cravings.

The key to defeating all cravings

Water! Something as simple as water is the secret ingredient to defeat all cravings. Though the recommended amount of water for each individual is 2-3 litres per day, we barely see people consuming water regularly. Drinking enough water will keep your cravings away, hydrate and clear your body of all the toxins and also promote glowing skin. 


Another fix that you can implement is to improve your eating habits. Nobody said eating healthy means eating the same old boring food. There are many recipes available online that give a twist to the regular meals and make them a healthy alternative to processed foods. Once you start eating healthy, cravings no longer appear as much as they used to, which makes the process worth it.


These are some tips that can help you defeat cravings and improve your overall dietary habits. Instead of restricting calories when on a diet, focus on improving the quality of what you eat. Health and fulfilment matter more than eating something with low nutritional value.


Source: 

  1. Hill, A. J., Weaver, C. F. L., & Blundell, J. E. (1991). Food craving, dietary restraint and mood. Appetite, 17(3), 187–197. doi:10.1016/0195-6663(91)90021-j 

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318441#causes

1 comment


  • Ravindar

    Very useful article


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