Do you find yourself craving specific foods to your detriment? Find out when to give in to your desire, how to control cravings, and when they can be a sign of an underlying health problem.
1. Give in to the best cravings
In a weight loss study by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the people who lost the most weight gave into their cravings for more caloric foods but did so less frequently than their larger counterparts. The bottom line: Choose the Ben & Jerry’s Super Fudge Chunk you crave over the low-fat frozen yogurt. Just be sure not to choose it often.
2. Think about something else
In one experiment, as reported in Science Daily, people craving chocolate were more forgetful than those who weren’t having a craving. It seems that during a craving, much of our brain power is focused on that food so we have a hard time focusing on other tasks. Volunteers experiencing a craving were then asked to imagine a rainbow or the smell of eucalyptus. The result: Reduced food cravings. A “flickering pattern of black and white dots on a monitor” or TV white noise had the same affect. Their finding: “Engaging in a simple visual task seems to hold real promise as a method for curbing food cravings.” Could the Cure My Craving app be on its way?
3. Turn off the TV
It’s no surprise that a study of college students, TV time and snack consumption found that those that watched the most TV were more likely to be overweight than those who watched less. Increased exposure to images of junk-food ads doesn’t help. Next time you crave a bag of cheese doodles, turn on some music instead.
4. Get checked by your doctor
Can ice cravings signal a sign of an undiagnosed case of anemia? Scientists believe it’s possible that the ice “relieves inflammation in the mouth brought on by iron deficiencies.” According to the New York Times, some people go through bags of ice each day. How to deal with the craving? Relief for some came in the form of iron supplements.
5. Tap, tap, tap it away
Psychological acupuncture, also known as the emotional freedom technique (EFT), has been shown to reduce cravings without the need for will power, which often fails. The process, performed by a person trained in the technique, combines “gentle tapping on pressure points while focusing on particular emotions and thoughts.” Read more about the emotional freedom technique.