How to control food cravings!

By: Dr. Lesley D'Souza, ND, May 29, 2014
  Question
How to control food cravings | Dr. Lesley, D'Souza, ND - Oakville, ON

I constantly crave food that I know I shouldn't be eating. How can I control these cravings?

What you can do to take control of your food cravings.

What Causes Cravings?
When our blood sugar levels are imbalanced, we get cravings. Different foods will alter our blood sugar levels at different rates. Certain foods can cause our blood sugar levels to spike and subsequently fall, leaving us feeling tired, hungry, and craving carbohydrates and sugary foods. Whenever we have a craving, our body sends out a multitude of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters strongly impact our behaviours and feelings causing addictive patterns. These patterns can become ingrained in us, working faster and stronger each time we experience a craving.

How to Minimize Cravings:

1) Include protein in every meal and snack.
Protein has a low glycemic index, which means it is broken down slowly in the body, releasing energy continuously. Adding protein will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent you from entering the “starvation mode” which leaves us craving carbs and sugary foods.Proteins sources include beans, legumes lentils, nuts, seeds, eggs, and animal proteins. You can also consider purchasing a protein powder to add to drinks and food.

2) Have something to eat every 3-4 hours
Consuming several small meals throughout the day helps to regular blood sugar levels and decrease cravings.

3) Avoid all-carbohydrate meals
These meals not only spike the blood sugar and leave you hungry soon after, but they also dampen the central nervous system decreasing your desire for physical activity and dampening your mood.

4) Bump up the fiber intake
Fiber helps to keep you feeling full longer and slows the release of nutrients into the blood stream, helping to normalize your sugar levels.

5) Eat your veggies no matter what
Vegetables not only provide you with important nutrients that are involved in everything from regulating bodily functions to fighting cancer, they also help regular your metabolism and decrease your cravings.

6) Eat good fats
Include omega-3 fats in your diet. These help reduce cholesterol, fill you up, and help regulate your blood sugar decreasing your cravings.

7) Carry a water bottle with you during the day to ensure you are drinking about 2L of water everyday
Often times when we think we’re hungry, we are actually thirsty. Since our bodies are over 50% water, we need to drink a lot to keep our cells functioning properly. Most people are dehydrated and only consume coffee, tea, and pop. These fluids dehydrate the body inhibiting our cells’ ability to function properly.

Dr. Lesley D’Souza, ND began her studies at the University of Toronto, obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Human Biology with a minor in psychology. She then received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario which is an accredited four-year, intensive post-graduate naturopathic medical program. As part of her studies, Dr. Lesley completed a twelve-month internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, the largest naturopathic clinic in North America. http://www.drlesleynd.com