Are Your Food Cravings Wrecking Your Diet?

By Robert Gilliland, B.S., D.C. –

dietMost of us would be much thinner and healthier if we could just control our food cravings. You know what I’m talking about. When you are trying to finish a project, get to sleep or stick to a diet but you just can’t concentrate until you give in to whatever it is that you are craving. It’s not that you’re hungry; you just need a ‘fix’. The ‘fix’ could be coffee, chocolate, pizza, etc. It’s a burning desire to have a specific thing. Once you give in to temptation, you’re fine and you can continue on. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but when you are trying to stick to a diet you tend to dwell on this and the guilt sets in. You feel weak and undisciplined and this is exactly why diets fail. You start out determined and motivated but those darn cravings just won’t allow you to be successful.

How To Beat The Cravings
Cravings come from different sources. The really urgent cravings, the ones that won’t allow you to think about anything else until you give in, are most commonly associated with hidden food sensitivities. The good news is, these can normally be ‘handled’ within 2 weeks by going ‘cold turkey’. It won’t be easy, but if you know why this is happening and you know that it will only last for a certain period of time, you can manage it.

What Causes The ‘Super Cravings’?
It’s really just a miscommunication between your immune system and your brain. When you have a food sensitivity, which is an IgG response, your body creates an immune response. What your immune system is saying to your brain is, ” Okay brain, we have built up our defense to (insert the food that you crave). So if you happen to eat it again we are prepared to defend against it.” What your brain ‘hears’ is, I want more of that and I want it now. It’s really just a miscommunication. If you don’t act on it, the antibodies that were built up in preparation will break up and the craving will go way. This normally takes about 2 weeks. So, if you fight through your cravings and don’t give in, in roughly 2 weeks those super cravings go away.

The Other Source Of Cravings – The ‘Weak’ Cravings
The other source of cravings are the ones associated with emotions. These are much more manageable. These are the cravings that occur when you see, smell or think about certain foods. This type of craving comes about because of how your brain is wired. Back when we were hunter-gatherers, we ate pretty much anything that wouldn’t kill us and we relied on our instincts; if it smelled bad or had a bitter taste, it was likely to be poisonous, so we avoided it. If we ate something and it made us sick,

we would store the tastes and smells of that food in our memory so if we experienced that particular taste or smell we would avoid it. This is still hardwired in us today. For example, let’s say you love spicy chicken wings but you ate some and got food poisoning from undercooked chicken. How soon do you think you will be eating spicy chicken wings again? More than likely, you would have an aversion to that food for a period of time.

Blame It On The Brain
Your sense of smell and taste travel along the same pathway in your brain that stores memory and emotions, the amygdala, where they get intertwined. This is powerful! The smell of baking bread as you walk past a bakery might take you back in time to when you were a little boy or girl helping your grandmother in the kitchen, or the taste of white wine might remind you of the night your husband proposed to you. Your sense of taste and smell are linked to these memories and emotions. This is why some people are emotional eaters. If you have some stressful event in your life like a bad day at work or breakup, you might find yourself eating a half-gallon of ice cream.

B Vitamins Can Help
The important thing here is to control your stress with B vitamins. B vitamins are like brake pads on your car. You may not be able to control whether or not the car in front of you makes you slam on the breaks, but if you have sufficient break pads, you will be able to stop before you crash. Not having sufficient B vitamins is like a car braking system without the pads, it’s metal on metal and you will end up crashing.

To Learn More
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call Southwest Natural Healing Center at 239-444-3106 or visit us online at

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