When it comes to sabotaging your healthy eating, cravings can feel like an unexpected enemy. They seem to come out of nowhere, they can keep up until you give in, and often leave you feeling unhappy that you gave in.
To make it more challenging, the foods that people tend to crave are often high in sugar, fat, and processed carbohydrates, such as cookies, pizza, baked goods, and others.
Here’s why you might be drawn to these, and more importantly, how you can help control cravings.
Desire for sweets
Most sugar cravings are caused by an imbalance in blood sugar levels, according to Krista Maguire, RD, CSSD, Beachbody nutrition manager.
“When blood sugar rises after eating foods high in sugar or carbohydrates without protein or fiber to slow the release of sugar into the blood, insulin levels rise to transport glucose into cells to use for energy and subsequently, blood sugar levels plummet, “he says. “Low blood sugar makes your body think that it needs more fuel and that the fastest source of fuel is sugar. That’s why those cravings appear. “
That’s why you might eat a small amount of a sugary food and then feel craving for much more, even if you feel like you’ve already indulged.
“I think another reason is that most of us lack the sleep department,” Maguire says. “If we start out with little energy, then our body is prepared to crave fast energy throughout the day.”
That can create a vicious cycle of consumption and cravings.
Desire for salt and fat
“While sugar cravings are generally related to the need for an energy boost, salt and fat can have more layers,” says Maguire. That’s because these are foods that we consider comforting, so there is a more emotional connection there.
People often create a cycle of habits in which stress or boredom begins to search for comfort foods, but because these are generally also low in fiber or protein, they can cause blood sugar spikes and subsequent drops as well.
So a salty or fatty snack can be followed by a sweet one.
“Sugar, salt and fat are the trifecta that food scientists are trying to engineer in the right proportions so that consumers come back for more,” says Maguire. “Unfortunately, there are certain snacks that just turn on those wellness hormones that make us crave more and more.”
How to stop cravings
Trying to change your mindset by pushing away thoughts of foods that you would rather not eat often can backfire, creating a condition where you end up making your cravings more intense.
Instead, using nutrition as a turning point can help and establish good habits that reduce the likelihood of cravings.
For example, Beachbody Bevvy can help control cravings and support healthy weight loss. The tea supplement, which comes in two flavors, lemon and pomegranate, has green tea phytosomes, brewer’s yeast peptides, and fiber.
“We have three key ingredients in Bevvy that help deliver healthy weight management benefits, but brewer’s yeast peptides are the key ingredient to help curb cravings, says Emily Pankow Fritz, Ph.D., Beachbody Principal Scientist . “Clinical studies of that ingredient show reductions in calorie intake with continued use when taken twice a day.”
Besides giving Beachbody Bevvy a try, there are other strategies that can help, says Maguire.
“First, eat a well-balanced diet,” he suggests. “If your body is getting the nutrients it needs and you are maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, you are less likely to experience severe cravings.”
When cravings hit, she advises taking a moment to realize what you really want and finding a healthier option.
For example, if you’re in the mood for salt, try something naturally higher in sodium like shrimp, seaweed, or celery. If you are in the mood for chocolate, try a recipe for chocolate with Shakeology or add some cocoa powder to your oatmeal.
Do you want fat? Bite into some creamy avocado, walnuts, or nut butter.
“If it’s a habit, try to break the habit,” says Maguire. “The more we do something, the more we will long for it. Dessert after dinner every night? Maybe I’m just saving it for a weekend gift. Chips while watching TV? Switch to celery and peanut butter or hummus and carrots. Or better yet, go for a walk instead of watching TV. Television can be the trigger for foods you want to avoid. “
With approaches like these, cravings don’t have to sneak up on you and take over. You can establish better habits and take control.