Food Cravings: Why They Haunt You, and What To Do About It

One of obstacles that creep up when we decide to change the way we eat is the dreaded craving for that kryptonite food of yours! The cravings, they are hard to deal with.

What are Food Cravings?

Food cravings can show up in a number of different forms. They can be all consuming, taking center stage in your mind for large parts of your day. Appearing in your dreams at night, and haunting you.

They can also be a little more subtle. That pint of ice cream you didn’t intend to buy that somehow ended up in your grocery cart. Your finger punching the speed dial number of your favorite pizza place.

Usually cravings are just that. Your body trying to deal with the changes you’re making to your diet by reminding you of the way things used to be. There’s nothing wrong with you and it’s not your fault that you crave your old favorite foods.

Sugar is Addictive

Sugar is one of the most addictive substances of all. Worse, it’s not just straight “sweet stuff” sugar, but foods that convert to sugar soon after you eat them. Like bread, pasta, and potatoes.

The reason that sugar has that extra addictive pull is a little more complex, because it has to do with your beneficial intestinal flora versus the possibility of yeast developing. Yeast doesn’t just show up in the form of feminine yeast infections, it also shows up as mucus in colds and other “side effects” such a poor digestion.

The more sugar you eat, the more you feed this yeast. If you suddenly stopping feeding the yeast by reducing your sugar intake, you can bet that the yeast is going to let you know it wants to be fed. That can come in the form of cravings.

There’s a lot more science and details to this delicate digestive balance, but that’s a whole other post to itself.

Food Cravings
Photo by Pawel Loj

MSG & Other Addictive Substances

To make matters even more complex, you’ve got to fend off the addictive effects of processed foods. Many times the reason we find certain foods to “taste good” is through some added manufacturing processes. And a combination of MSG and “taste enhancers.”

Foods with MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) actually cause your body to react by salivating, and releasing feel-good hormones in your bloodstream. Soon enough, your body gets into the groove of responding to foods this way.

If you start eating whole fresh produce and foods, you’re not going to get that stimulus. Your body will start to look for this response, and if it doesn’t find it, you can be sure that you’ll get signals to go back to the foods that gave it to you.