How to Conquer Your Cravings
Eating a delicious treat every now and then isn’t going to have a huge impact on health, but when temptation leads to unhealthy foods becoming a regular part of your diet, it’s time to figure out how to conquer your cravings.
Many food cravings serve a psychological purpose, with specific foods attached to a strong emotional response. Others can indicate a lack of a specific nutrient, or are a result of plain old hunger or boredom. Craving (and consuming) non-food items, like soil, may be a sign of iron deficiency and should be assessed by physician. For most people though, cravings are more likely to take the shape of sweet or salty snacks that provide quick energy, but offer little in the way of healthy nutrients.
As such, managing blood sugar levels and insulin already within the normal range is one way to minimize cravings. By supporting the body in keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable, this helps stave off feelings of intense hunger that can cause us to make poor dietary choices. The best way to help keep blood sugar stable is to reduce intake of simple carbohydrates, and to ensure a good intake of fiber, protein and healthy fats. These help slow down the release of energy from food, preventing the rollercoaster of blood sugar and insulin peaks and troughs that can trigger food cravings.
Chromium and Blood Sugar Regulation
Chromium is a trace mineral that is vital for blood glucose regulation as it forms part of a molecule called glucose tolerance factor (GTF) that helps support healthy insulin levels already within the normal range so the body can use fuel more efficiently. Ensuring a good dietary intake of chromium may help regulate appetite, support healthy blood sugar regulation and insulin demand, and encourage lean body mass.
Dietary Fiber and Weight Management
Fiber helps slow down the release of energy from food, supporting stable blood sugar levels already within the normal range. The natural polysaccharide (fiber) complex PGX supports appetite management by promoting a feeling of fullness, thereby reducing cravings. PGX may even exert a ‘second-meal’ effect, meaning that consuming PGX at dinnertime can actually help lower the glycemic index of breakfast the next morning (Brand-Miller et al., 2010).
PGX Satisfast protein bars are ideal for people who find themselves succumbing to cravings as they offer a low-glycemic treat that can actually help curb between-meal snacking. These bars contain 15 grams of plant-based protein in each bar, alongside 1.5 grams of PGX, making them a great option for anyone looking to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. They also contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, alongside calcium, iron, healthy fats and potassium, an essential mineral for water balance and proper signalling between cells.
Serotonin and Appetite Control
Another natural supplement, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), has also been seen to help with appetite regulation. 5-HTP is a natural precursor to the brain chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter essential for mood balance, sleep, and appetite control. Derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, 5-HTP provides a natural way to boost serotonin levels.
Low levels of serotonin have been implicated in poor appetite control, with insufficient serotonin thought to decrease the feeling of satiety or fullness after eating. In one study, people taking a 5-HTP supplement had improved appetite control. By restoring healthy levels of serotonin 5-HTP may help increase the feeling of fullness after eating and help you conquer your cravings!
Other top tips for keeping cravings in check include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating mindfully
- Staying hydrated
- Removing temptation
- Preparing for tricky situations
- Having healthy snacks on hand
One highly effective strategy for conquering cravings is to wait ten minutes after a craving strikes before giving in to temptation. In most cases the craving will pass, especially if you successfully distract yourself by going for a run, reading a book, chatting with friends and family, or playing with the dog.
If you have a sure-fire way to conquer cravings, let us know in the comments below!
Brand-Miller, J.C., et al. (2010). Effects of PGX®, a novel functional fibre, on acute and delayed postprandial glycaemia. Eur J Clin Nutr, 64:1488-1493.
* Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®