Are you CRAVING something?
New Research Challenges the 'Body Knows What It Needs' Theory; Where Men Differ From Women
Food cravings activate the same reward circuits in the brain as cravings for drugs or alcohol, according to functional MRI scans, tests that measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow.
Nearly everyone has food cravings occasionally, but women report having them more often than men, and younger people crave sweets more than older people do.
What to do:
Exercise can cut food cravings. Women who walked briskly on a treadmill for 45 minutes had far less brain response to food images, according to a new study from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Other forms of distraction include chewing gum and smelling a nonfood item. Taking a deep whiff of jasmine, for example, helps occupy the same aroma receptors that are a key part of food cravings.
Dr. Peeke suggests setting a timer for 30 minutes whenever a craving comes on. Busy yourself with something else until the timer goes off. The craving may have passed. "If you can at least delay eating the craved food, you can weaken the habitual response," agrees Dr. Pelchat.
The good news: The longer people stave off their food cravings, studies show, the weaker the urges become.
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