Junk Food

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Could anyone tell me why I am always craving chocolate and crisps all the time?  I can eat healthly during the day (lots of fish - etc.) but I always seem to need to eat a couple of packets of crips in the afternoon, a couple of chocolate bars and the occasional bottle of lucozade.  Could there be any explaination for this?

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  • Posted

    Once you start eating that sort of food/drink which has lots of easily absorbed sugar/processed carbohydrate in it it becomes a cycle. Put quite simplistically, you eat some, your blood sugar shoots up quickly and your body makes insulin to deal with it. The blood sugar level also falls again quite quickly but the insulin production lasts longer and the blood sugar level falls to a level where your body panics - and signals to your brain you must get your blood sugar level up again. So you go for something that does it quickly - rinse and repeat.

    If you eat foods that are what are called complex carbohydrates as well as having fat and protein along with them, they break down in your stomach much more slowly so the rise of the level of sugar in the blood is slowed and production of insulin is slower. That means your blood sugar level remains high enough for you not to feel hungry but not as high as it was with simple carbs so the insulin is produced over a longer period too. The fat and protein in the meal also help to keep you feeling filled up for longer.

     And it becomes a habit too. You are used to buying these sorts of foods and you - even if it is subconsciously - associate them with a particular time of day and with "feeling good" after eating them. So you keep doing it.

    Count the calories in 2 packs of crisps, 2 bars of chocolate and a bottle of lucozade - the lucozade alone has 236, a typical pack of crisps has the best part of 200 and there are 250 in a 45g bar of Cadburys chocolate. That's well over 1000 calories in your afternoon "snack"! An adult needs under 2000 calories a day unless they are doing heavy manual work - if you are sitting at an office desk it will just be stored as fat.

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  • Posted

    Eileen explained the physical side of it really well, and she mentioned you get used to certain foods at certain times of the day. I'd like to add that foods like chocolate and carby crisps etc are highly addictive psychologically. To the brain it's like taking drugs, sugar gives you a high, which you repeatedly want.

    Processed sugars and fats are very dangerous for the body, just like drugs.

    Can you swap some chocolate for fruit and plain probiotic yoghurt? Gradually wean yourself off with more healthy snacks, nuts for example. You know what you like that's healthy.

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  • Posted

    Learned a lot myself from the great replies here. May I add that I read some foods like CHEESE produce chemicals that block satiety awareness in the brain and increase cravings!
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  • Posted

    This may be interseting too: Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that eating a protein-packed breakfast produces a satiety signaller known as peptide YY. Study participants who ate protein in the morning felt less hungry and consumed fewer calories over the course of the day. Eating a breakfast containing 35 grams of protein also stabilised their glucose levels and prevented gains of body fat 
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  • Posted

    It's interesting that you note your cravings occur late in the afternoon and night. Corticosteroids act to manage electrolytes and blood sugar, and these are released in highest concentration in the morning when waking, dropping off as afternoon arives, and finally falling lowest at bedtime.

    When levels of cortisol are low, you're more likely to crave sugary or salty food to compensate for reductions of sodium levels and decreased blood sugar.

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