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Regular meals prevent sudden attacks
Whether family pizza, a complete bag of chips or a large bowl of chocolate pudding: everyone has probably already had a food craze in which he ate a lot more than he had originally planned. There are several reasons for the seemingly insatiable desire for something sweet, savory or fatty. A particularly stressful day can be the trigger or e.g. Worries that we "eat up" figuratively. Can you do something about these attacks? In an interview with the "dpa" news agency, nutrition experts explain the well-known phenomenon and give tips on how to prevent a food craze.
Feeling hungry is essential
It grumbles and pinches in the stomach, the mood gets worse and the performance decreases rapidly: If we are hungry, it can feel very uncomfortable. But hunger is in itself a vital signal, because it ensures that we ingest food and thereby supply our body with nutrients and energy. If this does not happen in time or insufficiently, it can happen that we suddenly feel the strong urge to have something to eat immediately. As a result, we pounce on sweets or greasy fast food - and often have a guilty conscience afterwards.
Skipping a main meal can trigger cravings
"Food cravings arise when the body lacks nutrients," Matthias Riedl told "dpa". According to the nutritionist from Hamburg, this is possible, for example, by skipping a main meal or if there is a lack of carbohydrates. Because this lowers the blood sugar level particularly quickly, so that the need for energy replenishment increases and we get cravings. Dietarian Lars Selig from Leipzig explains whether we like sweets or savory dishes, depending on which nutrient the body lacks. As Prof. Tilmann Habermas explains in his book “Cravings” according to the “dpa”, this often occurs during a diet, so even after exercise such an attack is possible.
If you experience frequent cravings or feel that they are getting stronger, you should definitely see a doctor. Because the unpredictable appetite seizures can be harmless, but also have pathological causes. For example, hormonal disorders such as an underactive thyroid or metabolic diseases such as diabetes are possible. Eating disorders can also be considered, and cravings for sweets can also indicate excessive colonization with intestinal mushrooms (Candida albicans).
Have a drink first
If you are "attacked" by the cravings, it is advisable, according to Riedl, to have a drink and wait a little, because "many confuse hunger with thirst," says the nutritionist. It is therefore advisable to drink regularly and thereby always provide the body with sufficient fluids. If drinking does not help, the person concerned should first ask: “Have I not eaten enough? What am I going to eat now? ” Because in the case of cravings, mostly what the body does not need would be eaten. Too much sugar, for example, can only briefly satisfy the need for "sweet". In addition, insulin is released from the body again, which causes a rapid drop in blood sugar levels. As a result, there would be another attack after an hour or two, the expert said.
Hunger is confused with appetite
According to Lars Selig, appetite is also often mistaken for hunger. Who e.g. always watching football when he is craving chips or "automatically" using chocolate in the job is not really hungry, but is guided by his feelings or habit. This could be remedied by regular meals, because "someone who is full will not be hungry," explains Riedl. According to the nutritionist, a main meal should ideally contain legumes, dairy products and vegetables, because this would fill you up for five hours and you would normally not get any cravings.
If this does occur, those affected should not force themselves, but should rather give in in moderation. Two or three pieces of chocolate or 10 to 15 grams of nuts would usually be enough to satisfy the need. If that doesn't help, a “snack box” could be a good solution, which Selig also recommends to his diet patients in this case. These are packed "in a clear state when I am full" and could e.g. some gummy bears, nuts and a piece of chocolate contain - but not more than 150 calories in total. If you feel like sweets, protect the box by not eating too much.
Carrots can satisfy your sweet tooth
When it comes to cravings, there are also healthy alternatives to sweets. These include e.g. Carrots, cucumbers, ginger tea and (small amounts) honey. In general, according to Riedl, care should always be taken to eat slowly in order to signal to the body that it is currently being supplied with energy. This leads to the fact that one gets full more quickly and above all does not get hungry again so quickly. (No)