TIME TO RETHINK YOUR CRAVING TRIGGERS
Cravings can easily be triggered without you even knowing, often by events that push an emotional button or it could just be habit. These are the times we need to rethink our perception of food and why we want to eat it: Seeing a tearjerker
Watching a sad film can increase the urge for snacking – in one study from the University of Cornell sad films led participants to eat 36 per cent more popcorn than happy films.
Research at Boston University has found that most people feel less hungry at 8am in the morning than they do at 8pm in the evening. To avoid a snack after dinner, have a cup of tea then clean your teeth. Your friends
Having a cup of tea and a bickie (or three) with your friends can influence your consumption, with you eating more even when you are at home later. According to the research that was done by the University of Minnesota, the opposite scenario also influences what you consume – if your friends eat less, you will do the same as well. So if your pals break out the sweets, check in with yourself and ask, “Do I really want to eat this?”
Eating in front of screens
Eating lunch when distracted by computer activities leads to more snacking later, shows research by the University of Bristol. Another good reason to switch off phones and TVs at dinner time and eat more mindfully.
THE TASTE TRIFECTA
This food-feel-good connection isn’t happenstance as the studies show, but it’s not just medical researchers who are checking the science – food manufacturers are constantly on the look-out for ways to increase our desire for certain foods.
Sugar, salt and fat are the ingredients high on the craving list. “We are hardwired and driven to desire energy-rich foods, high in sugar, salt and fat because in the past, they indicated good nutrition, which offered better protection in case of famine,” says Professor Amanda Salis, senior research fellow from Sydney University’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders.
Put all three of these together, and you create foods with even more pulling power in the supermarket aisle or takeaway shop. In the recent study by Yale University, the researchers found that when fat and carbohydrates are combined in a single food they are more rewarding, kilojoule for kilojoule, than foods with either energy source alone.
Fatty foods, like cheese, trigger one pathway to reward centers in the brain while carb-loaded foods like bread or potatoes take another route. When the two flavours are combined, which is the essence of many snack foods, the brain lights up like a pinball machine.
What makes this finding interesting, says Dana Small, professor of psychiatry at Yale and senior author of the paper, is that foods high in fat and carbohydrate do not exist in nature with only