Whether for food, in general, or carbs —more likely — they can be intense. More often than not they're caused by foods high in sugar or carbohydrates.
It's no wonder that these craved foods seem so irresistible since our desire for them is fueled by the addictive way they cause us to release feel-good chemicals in the brain, like serotonin, dopamine and other endorphins.
These chemicals can hard-wire us to seek out this feel-good rush by satisfying these cravings repeatedly, which makes it a habit.
5 Tips to Stop Food Cravings
Fortunately, whether we want to just get healthier or get a bikini-ready body, there are tricks we can use to get rid of food cravings and re-program our bodies to prefer healthier choices.
Here are 5 tips to help us along the way.
1. Eat Protein
One of the great things about protein is that it helps to keep carb cravings and hankerings at bay. In fact, published research has proven that protein keeps the body feeling more satisfied, and for longer.
According to findings published in the research journal Obesity, overweight males who increased their dietary protein intake reported up to a whopping 60 percent reduction in food cravings.
In addition, eating more protein has been shown to increase metabolism by 15 to 30 percent, which can enhance a feeling of fullness, making us less likely to overeat. Protein also helps safeguard lean muscle while the body burns off extra fat.
And soy is one of your best options. As to which protein sources are best, meat (by weight) has a maximum protein level of 26 to 27 percent. Soybeans, by comparison, boast 36 to 38 percent protein.
Plus, soybeans have a complete amino acid profile — meaning they have all nine essential amino acids — and they are considered a “high biological value” protein source.
2. Drink Water
The body can get twisted in trying to interpret signals from the brain, and so what feels like a food craving may only be a sign of being thirsty.
A 2013 study showed that drinking 2 cups of water before meals, while following a calorie-reduced diet, helped middle-aged and older people lose weight.
When a food craving strikes, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. If the craving goes away, the body may just have been thirsty.
Authors of a study from 2014 looked at overweight female participants who drank about an extra 1.5 quarts of water per day.
The study found the women who drank water weighed less, had less body fat, and experienced more significant appetite reduction than did those who didn't down the water.
Why Am I Craving Sweets?
The causes of our sweet cravings and jonesing for extra sugar could be as simple as not getting enough sleep or feeling too stressed.
3. Get Sleep
Your appetite is largely affected by your body’s hormones, which go up and down throughout the day.
Sleep deprivation disrupts this flux, and can contribute to both poor appetite control and strong cravings
Science supports this, showing that sleep-sapped people can be 55% more likely to become obese compared to people who get their Zs.
So good sleep is one of the best ways to fend off cravings to begin with.
4. Reduce Stress
Stress can be a big player in hunger cravings, and so stresses that we experience over extended periods of time can make us crave foods that are sugary and fattening.
To reduce or eliminate cravings, seek out ways to reduce stress. This can be as simple as regular “coffee” breaks from work or even taking a few deep breaths, which can help the body to refocus and calm the mind.
If you are able to, why not give mindful stress-relieving practices a try, such as guided meditation, yoga or tai chi?
5. Switch to a Fasting Diet for 14 Days
Fasting, the safe way, helps our bodies burn more fat while retaining muscle mass. But keep in mind that fasting does not, and should never, mean starving.
A safe way to fast and fight food cravings is with Almased’s 14-Day Bikini Emergency Plan.
Here’s a low-down on how it works:
- During the first week, replace your meals with nutritious Almased® shakes. Surprisingly, the low-calorie shakes will keep you satisfied.
- Then, in the second week, replace two meals each day with Almased® and eat one healthy solid lunch or dinner.
- At the end of the 14 days you’ll feel motivated to ditch unhealthy eating habits and embark on a new healthy diet path that fights cravings and supports weight loss.
Is Fasting Good for Weight Loss and Cravings?
Modified fasting is the safe way to fast, so we don’t starve ourselves like with other diets. This way, we get all of the nutrients we need for our metabolism to naturally support good weight loss while holding on to muscle.
The best way to achieve this is with meal replacement shakes. However, not all meal replacements are created equal, and the quality of the shakes you eat during a modified fast is crucial to its success.
Preserving muscle mass is important during any diet, and especially during a fast, as it ensures that the metabolism stays active so the body can continue to lose unwanted pounds.
Keeping metabolism at an optimal level and retaining muscle mass also helps to ensure that you sustain your weight loss once the fasting period is over.
Plus, science suggests that doing a safe, healthy fast can help us hit “reset” on our cravings, an effect that has been shown to last long after the 14 days is over.