What causes cravings

One of the biggest challenges you can face, when trying to get healthier and lose weight, is overcoming cravings. Now most would start out using will power to stop them in the first few days/weeks. But will power will only last so long, eventually the cravings will get the better of you unless you get to the source of the problem.

Usually there are 2 main types.

1. Pshycological cravings (from the mind)

2. Physiological cravings (from the body)

You are probably well aware of  psychological cravings. Certain foods give us a psychological high. Chocolate, for one, increases Dopamine levels. Dopamine is a ‘feel good’ hormone and is also increased by sex. So there may be some truth in the saying chocolate is better than sex!

Psycological cravings can be overcome by reframing how you think about these foods. My wife, Anna, does a lot of work helping others overcome cravings using NLP. She’ll be guest posting over the coming days so keep an eye out for that.

With physiological cravings, on the other hand, you may not be so aware of what causes these. You can get them for 2 reasons.

The first one being that you need them. We need certain nutrients to survive. If we become deficient in anything our bodies will cry out for that nutrient. If you crave salty foods it can mean a lack of salts in your body. Pottasium and magnesium are 2 very important salts, unfotunately you’re not going to get any reasonable amount from eatign a packet of salted crisps. Also if you eat a very low carb diet you will start to crave sugar as your body needs a certain amount, especially if you are training hard like we do in the fitness camps.

The other reason we crave certain foods may come as a surprise to you. Inside our bodies we have bacteria. These bacteria can be good and bad. The good help increase our immune system by fighting off the bad bacteria. This good bacteria is mainly found in our digestive system.

However if the bad bacteria starts to manifest it can take over our digestive system and start to live off what we eat. Seeing as our digestion and our brains are directly linked this bad bacteria can now order what it wants and the brain will make you deliver it. And guess what bad bacteria lives on?

Sugar! And i’m not just talking about the white granules. Sugar is actually disguised in many foods under names such as wheat, high fructose corn syrup, modified maize starch and many others. So it doesn’t matter if your craving is for a coke, some bread or a chocolate bar. Essentially the bad bacteria just wants to be fed.

To eliminate these bacteria you must eliminate these foods first and starve them to death. If they can’t eat they can’t live. Becareful when doing this as if you reintroduce a food you haven’t eaten for a while and still have bad bacteria floating around you will send these bacteria into a feeding frenzy. They will then let off toxic gasses like carbon dioxide as their waste products. Ever get bloated before? Now you know what it is.

My clients have often described getting horrendously bad pains in their stomach when they have done this. Just be aware that some foods will cause a bigger reaction than others but if you do feel a reaction you know that that food isn’t right for you.

There are also studies showing that the more bad bacteria you have the fatter you will be.

So the next time you get a craving, even though you are trying your hardest to ignore it, be aware where it may be coming from. By eating more natural foods and avoiding the processed stuff you will starve off the bad bacteria and your cravings will start to disappear.



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