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Food cravings can be overwhelming, and when you can’t stop thinking about the food, like, say, salt and vinegar potato chips, you’re more likely to rush out and buy a bag. Cravings are powerful urges, especially cravings for carbs, because those tasty, sugary carbs raise levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin in the brain, making you want more of that happiness. And once they start, carb cravings can be really tough to stop.

According to to Eat This, Not That, one way to beat cravings is to stop them before they start, and these tips can help do that:

  • Keep chips off the table – “Trigger foods” are foods that cause intense cravings. They’re the ones that you see or smell and suddenly must eat. But if those trigger foods are out of sight, they’re out of mind. So leave them in the pantry, or better yet? Don’t bring them home at all.
  • Pair carbs with protein – Our bodies need carbs for energy, but eating carbs by themselves can spike blood sugar, causing it to drop later, leaving you with that dreaded energy crash. But if you eat them with protein, which helps you get full faster and stay full longer, you can avoid rebound carb cravings.
  • Don’t demonize carbs – Carbs have gotten a bad reputation for causing weight gain, so some people try to avoid all carbs all the time. But research has shown that when you deny something you’re craving, the craving gets stronger. So sometimes, having a bite of that food you’re craving helps satisfy you enough so you can move on.
  • Commit to a low-carb diet – Gradually cutting your carb intake back and sticking with a diet low in simple carbs can effectively reduce food cravings, according to one study.
  • Take a brisk, 15-minute walk – Another study suggests that exercise can help take the edge off intense cravings for carbohydrates … and it doesn’t take much to feel the relief. Overweight participants who walked briskly for 15 minutes reported reduced cravings for sugary snacks compared to those who didn’t take the walk.
  • Get those ZZZs – There’s a link between sleep deprivation and high-calorie food cravings, according to recent research. It finds that when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to crave comfort foods, like mac and cheese, and you’re also less mindful of the foods you choose to eat.

Source: Eat This, Not That

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