Go Back To Sleep And Other Ways To Kick Your Food Cravings

Sep 29, 2022, 16:19 IST

Fight food cravings

Everyone gets food cravings. Dietician Anisha V Ranjan has some strategies to help you kick them to the curb


Always end up eating sweets and fast food, even though you’ve resolved not to? Cravings are common. And a single person can have different kinds of cravings. It might be something you saw, smelled or heard that sets off a craving - like when you see an ad for chocolate and you just have to have it.

Dietician and Nutritionist Anisha V Ranjan decodes the factors responsible for cravings…

Say Hello To Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes, especially during menstruation, play a major role in triggering junk food cravings in women. When a woman is about to start her menstrual period, the levels of oestrogen and serotonin in her body drop. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that is responsible for keeping a person calm and relaxed. When its level drops, cravings for carbohydrates and fat-rich foods such as cakes, chocolates, potato chips and cookies are triggered.

Fight food cravings - sleep deprivation causes cravings

Go Back To Sleep 

Sleep deprivation increases our hunger levels, and especially our cravings for sweets and snacks. It triggers ghrelin, the hunger control hormone that causes you to eat more. A sleepless night can leave you feeling irritable, fatigued and groggy. Lack of sleep also suppresses leptin, a hormone that regulates fat storage. The longer you are sleep deprived, the worse the cravings get.

Stay Away From Stress

In this fast-paced, chaotic world, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers cravings for salty, sweet and fried foods - foods that will give you a burst of energy and pleasure. However, not all stress is the same, and our body responds differently to different types of stress. Stress increases appetite too. You can prevent stress by finding healthier options that fit into your lifestyle.

Say ‘No’ To Nutrient Deficiencies
Sugar drops, or a deficiency of chromium or phosphorus, can also lead to sugar cravings. Similarly, a basic deficiency of sodium will make you crave salty foods such as chips. An iron deficiency will leave you with very low energy and you will find yourself beset with cravings, because the body needs quick energy to boost itself up.

Don’t Ignore Dehydration

Dehydration makes it difficult for your body to metabolise glycogen for energy. Glycogen is the converted form of glucose that is stored by the muscles and liver. Without enough glycogen, the body will crave sugar for an energy boost. So, the next time you crave sugar and sweets, drink a glass of water. It will help you not give in to your sugar cravings.

Be A Protein Pro

Though it might seem like a good idea to limit yourself to carrot sticks for lunch, this can deprive your body of protein and lead to low energy levels. Healthy foods such as fruits, nuts and vegetables are healthy snacks but aren’t always hearty enough to keep you feeling alert and energetic for hours. Many people require high-protein foods such as eggs, lentils, chickpeas and tofu to feel sated and energetic until the next meal. High-protein foods keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.

Fight food cravings - healthy food options

Be Consistent

We often crave junk food because we don’t plan our meals, so never skip your meals. While travelling, take healthy snacks such as makhana, roasted chana or nuts along, rather than wafers. Chewing gum or hard candy can also reduce your cravings. Start adding foods such as berries, sweet potatoes, and dates to your meal plans – these foods contain high amounts of fibre, protein, antioxidants and many other compounds that help control cravings.

Fight food cravings - author - Anisha V Ranjan

Dietician and nutritionist Anisha V Ranjan

Images: Shutterstock | used for representational purposes only

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