How To Manage Cravings
Though cravings can sometimes be intense, they are controllable. Overall, just keep your total food intake at a reasonably constant amount.
Cravings are similar to addiction.
Cravings, like an addiction, can start as only a small temptation but has the potential to grow to unmanageable behavior. There are two common cravings that occur in our diet; salt and sugar cravings. Though cravings can sometimes be intense, they are controllable.
Why do I have cravings?
First, let’s look at why cravings may occur. In the kidneys your blood is filtered to remove waste products and then what is needed is reabsorbed. During this process, glucose (blood sugar) and sodium (Salt) are filtered and reabsorbed together. If one is out of balance with the other, there can be a need or craving sensation. This is natural and good to maintain balance.
Usually, when there is a high amount of glucose in the diet there is a craving for salty foods (chips, peanut butter, salted nuts, etc.) or sweet and salty foods (mainly candy bars). This can also occur during over-hydration or a large fluctuation in fluid intake.
On the other hand, if there is a high amount of salty foods in the diet compared to sweet foods there is likely going to be a craving for sweet things (anything sugary) along with an increase in thirst to better balance the body’s electrolytes.
How to Fight Off Cravings
To avoid indulging in too many foods that may be less healthy than others here are some things to try to fend off cravings.
When you are craving something sweet and/or salty try having a small scoop of natural peanut butter or any nut butter. The texture and flavor commonly help the mind settle its cravings. If that does not work, you can try having a less impactful sugary food such as tea sweetened with a little honey or a piece of fruit.
If you happen to be on the keto diet and that chips craving is creeping up on you, luckily there are many keto options that you can indulge in and still remain in ketosis. However, moderation is the key here.
Having flavored protein can also help as long as it does not over exceed your protein limit for the day (over 1.5g/lb or 3.3g/kg of body weight).
I’m still craving those Reeses!
If all of that fails, you can always work sweet or salty foods into your daily diet by eating less total calories throughout the rest of your day.
For example, if you have cravings for chocolate at night or any time of the day, have some but eat less fat and carbohydrates during other meals. This will allow for your total calories for the day to stay about the same.
It is best to keep a natural diet with only few craving indulgences, but we all have our needs. With at least 90% of your diet being strict, 10% can be used for indulgences in less nutritional foods.
Overall, just keep your total food intake at a reasonably constant amount.
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