Food cravings are real! While hunger produces physical sensations such as stomach growling, lightheadedness and weakness that signals your body for the need of fuel, food cravings are an intense desire for a specific food choice. Normal hunger can be satisfied with a variety of foods while a craving can only be satisfied with a specific food, normally a sweet.
With that in mind, could there be a physiological component to cravings? The answer is yes. It is not all about will power. Neurochemicals and hormones play a large part in hunger, cravings, fullness and satiety.
There are over seventy neurochemicals that have been identified that play a role in memory, appetite and mood. A few of them you may have heard of such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. In addition to these neurochemicals, hormones also play an important part in cravings, hunger and satiety. They include insulin, cortisol, and leptin plus many more.
Let take a closer look at insulin. This is a hormone that is produced by the pancreatic cells and is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Since blood sugar is probably the single most important factor controlling appetite and mood, insulin is a key player in causing food cravings.
When we eat carbohydrates they are reduced to simple sugars. These sugars enter our blood stream and trigger an insulin release. The more refined foods containing ‘simple carbohydrates’, such as Dr. Clarks six C’s, lead to a quick release of insulin followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that triggers an intense need (craving) for more carbohydrates.
To eliminate or minimize this physiological aspect of cravings try:
Controlling your blood sugar swings by eating protein every few hours, at every meal as well as for snacks. Keeping your carbohydrate levels below or equal to your protein levels will help.
Avoiding those 6 C’s as well as rice, pasta, bread and potato (Think back to Chapter 1 WMU™ ). These can raise your blood sugars fairly quickly.
Carrying protein-based snacks with you at all times. Never let yourself become famished.
Adding the mineral chromium picolinate has shown to be useful in curbing cravings.
Exercising helps get your mind off thinking about foods as well as utilize those excess sugars in your blood stream.
Giving yourself a fifteen minute timeout. Wait about fifteen minutes to see if the craving goes away.
Are you ever frustrated with your inability to control your cravings or appetite? You know those days when you just want something you know you shouldn’t have because if you do…a downward spiral might begin. We all get cravings for a variety of reasons such as stress, availability, menses and possibly habit. Some cravings are real and some are just perceived as real which makes your craving or increased hunger your reality.
Is there a way to control your cravings? Recent research indicates a resounding “yes”! This is good news and we have dedicated this month’s newsletter to this very topic – ways to control your cravings and appetite. It’s a topic worth understanding so the next time you feel like your appetite is getting out of control, you can use this easy to understand information and stay on track instead.
I will begin with a couple of ways to control your appetite with products that are getting quite a bit of attention in the media and can be very useful. The first is Garcinia Cambogia. This is a citrus-like fruit containing a unique organic acid compound with several actions that help to control body weight. It is similar to citric acid found in lemons and other citrus fruit, but it has very different properties. Studies show that the hydroxycitric acid (HCA) in Garcinia Cambogia promotes weight loss and may also reduce your appetite particularly when you eat higher amounts of carbohydrates because HCA appears to divert these carbohydrates away from being converted into fat and instead favor the formation of glycogen. As you have learned in Weight Management University™, glycogen is stored in the liver and your muscles use it as a ready source of energy and may signal your brain that your body is “full”, thus curbing your appetite and food intake. In addition, animal studies show that HCA may also increase your release of serotonin, a key chemical in your brain that is involved in your mood regulation, sleep, and appetite control. Sound good? It can be very helpful and is even available to you as a pharmaceutical grade supplement in our nutritional store.
Another helpful appetite suppressant that has been around for a long time (about 60 years) is the prescription drug we utilize when appropriate called Phentermine. This is a fairly safe medication that is closely regulated by the FDA. It does require monitoring of your blood pressure which is easily accomplished at CFWLS. Clinical indications for use of Phentermine includes anyone with a BMI > 30 or >28 with other health problems.
Phentermine can be a great tool to help you with your weight loss. It tends to take the edge off of your hunger. Most people “don’t care” as much about eating. It is also helpful with symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal. We routinely see people lose an average of an extra 8-12 pounds when utilized in conjunction with our medical weight loss program. Phentermine is prescribed in conjunction with a weight loss program – not as an individual weight loss method. It is also helpful for weight maintenance. Potential side effects include dry mouth and initially you may feel a little jittery. These side effects tend to go away over time. There are other potential side effects that are reviewed upon prescription and monitored throughout your treatment. If you are in one of our programs, let us know if you desire more information on this helpful tool.
Now read on for more information about other ways to curb your appetite and cravings with your eating plan and/or another helpful tool called chromate. Follow these tips and you will get your appetite under control sooner than you thought possible.