The feeling of hunger is physiological process and it is essential for maintaining energy and functioning of the body. When you feel hungry, eating any food will suffice the need. However, food craving is something different. It is different from hunger. Biological as well as psychological sphere plays important role in craving.
Craving differs from hunger as in craving there is desire for specific food while it is not so with hunger. From time to time all of us may have some kind of food craving, but in some people craving persists forever.Repeated craving will pose health problems which includes obesity and episodes of binge eating.
The common food that people crave are sugary products, carbohydrates, chocolate, salty food and butter and cheese. However, in some people it may be anything.
Causes Of Hunger Cravings
There are several causes of food cravings. In each person it may be different. Food craving is often linked with emotional disturbance. It is considered to play vital role. Craving for food increases when a person is sad, feels bored and anxious. People indulge in eating sugar products or salty food when they are facing troubled life situations, for example losing a job, troubled relationship, etc.
A person experiences craving when he is dehydrated. He feels hungry and the first thing that he desires is to drink water. Nutritional deficiencies are also trigger for food craving. Generalized deficiency of various nutrients send message to the brain which converts it in the form of craving. These craving can be for non nutritional food which includes sugar, tea, and other beverages. Specific mineral deficiency can cause craving for salt etc.
Hormonal shifts during pregnancy, menses, can produce cravings. For example pregnant women crave for sour food or just eat chalk and mud if they are deficient in iron. They also crave for ice in case of iron deficiency. Low serotonin level trigger craving for food as it has influence on appetite and mood.
How To Stop Food Cravings Without Eating?
Here are some simple solutions to stop food craving without eating.
- Stay hydrated is the key for controlling food cravings. If you are dehydrated, your body thinks there is a need for food and water. It occurs in the form of thirst and increased craving for food.
- Food craving needs distraction of your mind. As the craving lasts only for few minutes, distracting during this time will help in curtailing craving for specific food. Eat something else when you are craving for a particular food item. For example if you are craving for chocolate try to eat nuts, fresh fruits, a cup of tea etc.
- Stay relaxed as it helps to curb craving. If you are stressed try ways to ease your tension. Read books, hear music, play games etc.
- Exercise is another short cut to stop cravings. Exercise produces feel good hormones. It helps people who are in state of anxiety and depression as these people tend to crave for non nutritional foods.
- Go out in sun, meditate and practice yoga. It helps to reduce craving and elevates your mood.