Chocolate. Chips. Ice-cream. French fries. In my research program at Tufts University most volunteers for our weight loss studies report substantial food cravings for foods like these. There isn't one single food that they all crave, because tastes are different, but craved foods all have one unique hallmark: they are all calorie-dense and typically contain twice as many calories per ounce as other foods. Surprisingly, carbs don't seem to be the important key. The craved foods reported by our volunteers usually contain a mixture of carbs and fat with a little protein thrown in for good measure. Think of the human species as being calorieholics rather than carboholics and you have it about right.
Craving as defined by TheFreeDictionary.com means, To have an intense desire for. This seemingly innocent word, when put into action, can knock anyone off balance.
Think about it, when you crave, has this desire ever been for something good for you? It is unlikely!
In her article, Why We Crave, Kat McGowancommunicates, Even though the desire feels deep-down and basic, habit and conditioning seem to have a lot to do with it. The wonderful implication: cravings for rich, fatty foods might be conquerable. You don't have to be a slave to your appetite; you'll like yourself better in the morning.
She goes on to offer information about the possibility of retaining our appetites strengthened with the routine of eating healthy and frequently to offset such cravings. As Kat shares this sounds rather simple but as weve all been there, it takes much more than mind over matter.
On a recent Doctor Oz show he addressed our food cravings and he offered …
Eat craved foods wisely or not at all while you give the above techniques a few weeks to go to work. If craving for a particular food is very hard to control, give up that food for now before trying it again. Some people find it helpful to simply think of a troublesome food-say, cupcakes-as being “not food” or “garbage” or “not a food that I eat.” If you decide to bring back a craved food, eat only reasonable, calorie-controlled portions in the middle of satisfying meals, never first or last and never alone.