Food cravings are one of the most important reasons, that people fail with their diet program. We all have experienced cravings for our most favorite foods when being on diet, but have you also asked yourself what the meaning of food cravings actually could be?
There could be a reason why they show up and finding out what causes food cravings could also help us to overcome them.
On the one side, food cravings are emotionally based, this is also known as emotional eating. For example, when you sit in the evening in front of the TV and despite just having had dinner, you now are also having some munchies. This is not because you are hungry, but possibly because you are lonely. Food has become your friend or replaced your partner and what you really want is company with someone who values you. But as this feeling is not available for you at that moment, the pleasure of having food acts as an easy replacement because it is cheaply and easily available in today’s society.
However, the emotional meanings of food cravings are not always so obvious, but can also be connected to a lot of other negative emotions or events in your life. As one might not always be conscious about the connections, methods with a somewhat psychological background, like neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) or emotional freedom technique (EFT), can help to deal with these kind of cravings.
A second major meaning of food cravings is simply the body’s cry for more nutrients. You might eat the wrong foods, e.g. too much junk food with many calories, but a low density of valuable vitamins and minerals. Although it would obviously make more sense if your body craved in this case rather carrots than a donut, it does not seem to work this way.
You usually crave what you are used to eat, because your body knows, that is the food that is available. And now your body is giving you a signal for more food for it to extract more of whatever nutrient you are deficient in.
Another aspect of the nutritional side of the meaning of food cravings is strong fluctuations in blood sugar. It has been shown that eating too much refined carbohydrates leads to a high spike in blood sugar, which is followed by the release of insulin. This in turn often lets the blood sugar drop rapidly to a level of even below where it was before the meal was consumed stimulating your appetite again.
Taking these two main meanings of food cravings into account, the cravings are most efficiently eliminated when both sides, the emotional and the nutritional, are addressed.