If you have ever had an urgent yearning for doughnuts, chocolate or pickled onions, fear not, you are most certainly not alone. When does a liking for a particular food become a craving, as opposed to a food addiction or weird obsession? Can we stop the desire to succumb to overeating?
The good news is that, yes, you can overcome the desire to overeat. As a self-confessed comfort eater, carbs used to be my go-to solution (or excuse) to solve any problem the world threw at me. Once you know how to overcome craving triggers, food cravings and overeating will simply disappear and become a distant memory. Let’s have a look at what’s really going on when you get that late-night craving for cookies and milk or a bag of salted chips. Food cravings are thought to be triggered by the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory and pleasure, creating an addictive cycle of eating to make us feel good.
Specific regions of the brain appear to be activated when you experience food cravings. The memory areas of the brain are responsible for associating a specific food to an emotional response, thereby giving new meaning to the term ‘comfort eating’. You could actually call this food addiction, as overweight people tend to show a greater pleasure response to food than those who maintain a normal weight. Some medications prescribed to assist weight loss therefore target the feel-good neurotransmitters to increase serotonin and noradrenaline, reducing the desire to eat to feel good.
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