How to Curb Cravings for Processed Foods

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Food Cravings

Food has an amazing effect on our body. We see it visually if we eat too much of the wrong food types. We feel it physically when we are hungry, stuffed, or bored. Food has the capacity to change the chemistry in our brains and in this smart-brain blog, we talk about how and why processed foods are addictive.

Food, It Is not Just Apples and Oranges

Food is more than its complete package. An orange is made up of fiber, vitamins, sugars, minerals, and other things that break down into chemicals. What are drugs? Why are cigarettes addicting? In our body, they all become chemicals and those chemicals impact our body's systems, including our brain. Studies have showed that eating chocolate stimulates hormones that are similar to having really good sex. Well, packaged foods are also chemicals, but those chemicals are based on fast energy, bad carbs, sugars, salt, and fats that are not always good for you. Those chemicals also cause the body to want more of those foods because it takes more energy to burn stored fat than it does to burn sugars in the blood stream.

The Sugar Battle

Healthy sugars, such as those found in fruit are long acting. Sugars that are found in highly processed foods, such as white bread or candy are short acting sugars. What happens when you eat candy? An hour later your sugar load crashes and you want to sleep. Well, our body needs energy to function and that desire to sleep is our body's way of saying we need more energy. So we reach for fast energy because it is tasty and readily available. Vending machines are full of fast energy, but that form of energy is not what we should consume. Instead, reach for the orange, apple, peach or any other form of fruit. You need more energy, but you need the energy to last until your next meal. So which is better for you long or short term energy? Long-term energy works the best in our body and it does not have that sugar crash.

Processed Foods

Highly processed carbs turn to sugar faster than carbs from whole grains. Healthy labels on foods are also not entirely accurate. If it comes in a box it is usually highly processed. Those kinds of foods do not help us lose weight or gain health. They do just the opposite. They help our body store fat because they convert their carbs to sugars quickly. Our body will burn those sugars before it burns stored fat. It will also store more fat because many processed foods also have high percentages of fat in them.

Curbing Your Cravings

A good way to curb cravings for processed foods is to drink more water. Notice we said water, and not fluids. Cut down on the soda and other sugary beverages. Those are also processed foods. Eat more long-term energy foods such as brown rice, beans, and quinoa. Eat smaller meals more often. Your body will not ask for food if it is not running out of sugar. That is why processed foods are addicting. They run out of sugar too quickly and your stomach tells your brain that you are starving. You can stop that by feeding your body better foods more often.

If you would like to learn more about how healthy foods can stop processed food cravings, visit the Metabolic Research Center. Not only will you find a supportive environment, you will also find a whole library full of healthy and good-eating menus.


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