Most of us tend to confuse cravings for hunger. Let’s be clear here, hunger is not the same as craving something. You see, hunger is much more physiological. Meaning that it can literally reflect your body’s state and be a signal for our body to tell us we actually need nourishment or fuel.
While Cravings are more psychological and develop from habits.
Sometimes, we feel cravings because we have been eating food we feel that we’ve been “forced” to eat. So we end up having more intense cravings for food that we can actually enjoy. Therefore, we must make our food both enjoyable and appropriate at the same time.
Many of us fall into the trap of eating food for the sake of them being healthy, having fewer calories, or simply just being in a specific part of the food pyramid.
However, when you think of food only in terms of calories, you can see that the food you’ve been craving may have a ton more calories than you expect or sometimes even less than expected.
If you were given 5 chicken breasts or 5 big cookies as your only food for the day, which could you finish & which will leave you with leftovers?
Most people can eat 5 big cookies in a day with no problem. Few could eat 5 chicken breasts. Yet they have similar calories— So, what makes them different?
It’s the macronutrients, especially protein. The protein in the chicken is highly satiating. It suppresses the appetite. The chicken breast is also very low in fat & has no carbs. The cookie, however, is exactly the opposite. It has virtually no protein. It is loaded with fat and sugar, & has less satiating potential.
There is no logic in grabbing a cookie & expecting it to manage your hunger. In fact, foods rich in combinations of fat, sugar, and salt, like cookies have been shown to trigger more cravings for similar highly palatable foods. While this is not true for some people, it is true for most!
You might grab a cookie because it tastes good and satisfies a craving, but don’t be surprised if your stomach is rumbling within the hour and you find yourself reaching for another one. The chicken breast, however, is far more likely to hold you until your next meal, no snacking needed.
This is the way you want to start thinking about food. It is not just about what that food does to you at the moment. But also you should be thinking & asking yourself, “If I eat this food, will it help me eat less and better-quality foods later? Or will I be likely to eat more and unhealthier foods later?”
Food is not simply a bunch of calories; it is also a packet of information for your metabolism. Choose your food choices wisely!
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