Food Cravings: They’re All in Your Brain
(ANNA MATTEO, VOICE OF AMERICA) We have all been there. You’re going about your day when a strong desire for chocolate overcomes you.
You try to busy yourself to make it go away. But it doesn’t.
In fact, the more you try to NOT think about a square of deep, dark chocolate melting in your mouth, the more you want it. You can even smell it!
‘Stomach hunger’ vs. ‘brain hunger’
A food craving is a strong desire for a specific type of food.
One person might crave chocolate, while another might crave potato chips.
Sometimes the foods we crave are not healthy ones but rather fatty or sugary foods – the kind that can be the beginning of the end of your New Year’s resolutions.
But where do food cravings come from? And how are they different from hunger?
Scientists say hunger is a fairly simple connection between the stomach and the brain. They call it “stomach hunger.”
A craving is more complicated. It involves the reward center of the brain. A craving can also be tied to our mental state and memory. Some scientists call food cravings “mind hunger.” People often crave foods that give us feelings of pleasure and even euphoria.
Studies show that our mental state affects our food cravings but not really our hunger levels. Also, our food memories affect what we crave and when. The reward system in the brain may lead us to seek out familiar pleasures.
One study found that “dieting or restricted eating generally increase the likelihood of food craving.” So, the more you deny yourself a food that you want, they more you may crave it.
So, the next time you crave a food that threatens to defeat your health resolutions, know that your brain may be more to blame than your stomach. READ THE FULL STORY AT VOICE OF AMERICA. Also of interest: Weight loss, healthy blood sugar, better colon health from these foods