When a craving strikes, your mind tells you that your body needs to have a certain food and that you will not be able to get through the next ten minutes without it. However,wWhen you crave potato chips, it does not mean your body is deficient in salt, and when you crave chocolate, it does not mean your body is low on sugar for the day.
In fact, the reason that we have cravings can be blamed on our brain, according to Web MD. Research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center found that certain regions of the brain – the hippocampus, insula, and caudate – are activated when you crave foods. These areas of the brain are accountable for linking memory and pleasure to food cravings. This meaning that when you experience a food craving and satisfy the craving, it is likely that your brain will form a habit and the craving will reoccur.
With all of this being said, do not always deprive yourself from foods that you crave. Even if you are trying to lose weight, having small amounts of forbidden foods can actually aid in your weight-loss. If you restrict yourself completely, you will end up eating a lot more of that food down the line when your cravings are at their worst.
Beyond our mental state, cravings are also propelled by our emotions. Whether it be stress or anxiety, it may be natural to reach for carbohydrates, which boost our levels of serotonin in the brain, providing a calming effect all over the body. However, reaching for a high-calorie, high-fat food every time you are stressed will only lead to weight gain and therefore, more stress on your body and mind.
Do not blame yourself for all your wild cravings. According to an article in the American Psychological Society Observer, our ancestors were able to store excess calories so that they could survive during times of famine. This could also have an impact on why we crave high-calorie foods sometimes.
To keep yourself from overindulging or just suffering through cravings, eat a diet with a lot of variety. That way, you will know you are gaining all the necessary nutrients and you will not get bored of the healthy meals you are eating.