A question I received yesterday was “why do we crave certain foods”?

There’s a simple reason for why we crave junk food.  Well, These junk foods we crave aren’t really actually food.  We tend to crave things that are ultra process and contains large amounts of concentrated sugar salt and processed fat.

That ain’t something you’ll find in broccoli brown rice or salad greens!

Ever wonder how you’re able to eat a whole bag of potato chips or maybe a whole bag of M&Ms (ahem guilty!) and still be hungry for dinner in a half hour?

Here’s the thing…

Sugar is the strongest simulator of cravings.  There’s a biochemical basis for cravings and binging on certain foods especially in large amounts increases your brains desire for those same foods that change your brain in the first place.
Did you know, your own brain produces small amounts of Opioids (yup, just like heroin and morphine) when you eat excess sugar and fat? It’s no wonder why you want more!  

So what exactly causes these cravings, you might ask?

Food cravings stimulate the brain’s neurotransmitters, Dopamine and Serotonin.
Dopamine enhances your pleasure and feeling of well-being while Serotonin reduces pain including the psychological pain you might find with anxiety or depression. Look, it’s not that sugar or fat is creating this issue that we’re having but rather it’s the fact that were consuming them in such high quantities.

So, how are we consuming them in such high quantities when we’re trying to eat well, we don’t think we eat a lot, and sometimes we aren’t even hungry?

The reality is, when we eat foods that contain natural sugars and fats, these foods also contain fiber, phytonutrients and other minerals. When foods are as processed as they are these days, everything is stripped away leaving sugar in a crystallized form. The sugars are then able to be absorbed into your system at such a faster rate which often causes low blood sugar and causes you to be hungry again; and what happens when you’re hungry, again? You look for a quick fix, likely, a more concentrated sugar food or junk food such as what you just finished eating.

Now I can’t talk about the causes of cravings without talking about stress.

Stress is a huge factor when it comes to cravings and overeating. When you’ve got cravings what you might actually have is a natural need for comfort.  If that comfort remains unmet, you’ll likely find it in unhealthy junk food.

So here’s my tip: Get yourself a pet (like a cat) or maybe hop on the treadmill and get some exercise. Exercise is a great mood stabilizer and stress reducer and a great calorie burner to boot!

I hope this was helpful!  If you liked it, please let me know in the comments below and subscribe for more!  Make sure you share this post with your friends.