Consistently, when I ask people the biggest thing holding them back, cravings is the most common nutritional issue most of us face.
So if it’s 3 pm and you find yourself there working on a boring project at work, and you feel this slight agitation, this feeling of being fidgety and wanting to reach for something – you know the cravings are coming on.
Or maybe it’s 9 pm and you just had dinner, you’re watching tv looking for something to do, and that fidgety, incomplete feeling shows up again. “Where’s the dark chocolate?!”
Yup… you got cravings.
Fortunately, there are three super easy things you can implement to make sure they aren’t an issue – 100% backed by science – and you can do them even if you love food and don’t want to give up your cupcakes and wine 😉
Here’s What They Found
Check Out These Cool Studies on Cravings
In the first study, 193 obese men were taken in to compare how much meal composition might affect how full they felt, and whether or not they experienced cravings.
One group was given a carb breakfast.
One group was given a high protein breakfast.
The entire duration of the study was 32 weeks, so a little bit over half a year.
About 16 weeks in, people on the carb breakfast had already begun regaining their weight back.
The people in the high protein breakfast had almost DOUBLE the level of fullness (satiety), and this group also had dramatically reduced sugar cravings.
So the first principle here is meal composition – eat more protein at each meals.
A common benchmark I recommend is at least 30g of protein per meal.
The “When We Eat” Principle
In the second study done at Yale, researchers gave people a lunch sandwich, and then they were intravenously dripped glucose so researchers could control their blood sugar and induce low blood sugar.
So these people had their blood pressure artificially controlled by the researchers with an IV.
Once they had low blood sugar, they were shown images of low calorie foods & high calorie foods including various food types.
Then researchers asked the participants how much they were cravings those food types – while measuring their brain responses.
In the low blood sugar group – they craved EVERYTHING – the parts of their brains involved in craving and desire lit up – low calorie food, high calorie food, and anything in between.
So the second principle here is simple: avoid low blood sugar by eating more regularly.
And don’t just snack (which keeps yourself on the verge of hunger almost constantly) – really sit down to have something filling.
The second principle here is timing and regularity.
The “Food Cues” Principle
The third principle is something I call “food cues.”
It’s an interesting phenomenon that if you stop eating sweets, you really don’t experience cravings that much.
But again as you start thinking about the food you want to eat, dopamine is released and you crave the food – then once you eat, you crave even more by releasing even more dopamine.
“Availability” is a simple principle that I talk about a lot here: if it’s there, we’re going to eat it.
I can usually handle sugar no problem, but if someone leaves a cake in my refrigerator, it’s game over.
I’m going to destroy that entire cake by myself, slowing picking at it an entire day until it’s picked clean.
So if it’s there, we’ll eat it – if we don’t keep it around us, it’s going to be that much harder to actually indulge.
The third is simple: get rid off stuff around you, as best you can. If it’s there, we’ve already lost – because we’re going to have to rely on willpower and discipline which will consistently fail us.
Your Tiny Habit For Today
Today’s tiny habit for regaining control over cravings is super simple and involves three parts:
Meal composition: eat protein with each meal.
Meal frequency: eat every three hours to avoid low blood sugar.
The availability principle: If it’s there, we’re going to eat it.
Follow these three principles and you’ll already get rid of 90% of your cravings on a daily basis.
What about you? When do you usually get cravings? Share below.