• Emma Green

How to deal with cravings

Cravings are pretty common but there is still uncertainty in the research literature about exactly what causes them and how best we should deal with them. Here's what we do know helps: ⠀ 1. Restrained eating: In the literature, restrained eating refers to a mindset where some foods are considered 'bad' and the person tries to eliminate it. If you’re experiencing a lot of cravings, ensure you’re not labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but instead eating all foods that you enjoy. 2. Sleep: We know that a lack of sleep is associated with increased cravings. This is because a lack of sleep raises levels of endocannabinoids. These are compounds which drive us to eat or continue eating even if full. If you have a lot of cravings, prioritise sleep.

3. Stress: High stress levels are associated with increases in cravings. It's unclear exactly why this occurs but it is likely associated with increases in cortisol. If you’re having a lot of cravings, prioritise stress management (journalling, meditation, yoga etc).

I’d also like to point out that there is no strong scientific evidence that cravings are caused by either nutrient deficiencies or ‘food addiction’ (side note: food addiction in itself has very little scientific support).

It’s also important to note that research shows that trying to consciously suppress cravings is an ineffective strategy and usually results in later overconsumption of that food.

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