If you want to know how to control starchy food cravings then you must remember the brain runs the show when it comes to food. The dopamine is what creates the cravings.
Learning to switch from foods that produce craving to foods that do not will help you along in your weight loss goals. ABC’s Good Morning America published this piece on how to control food cravings.
How To Control Starchy Food Cravings
Ever felt like your constant cravings for chocolate, cookies or cheese are beyond your control? According to the author of Breaking the Food Seduction, you’re right.
There are biological reasons for those cravings, and people who think that they are too weak-willed to stop eating their favorite foods may simply be addicted to them, said Dr. Neal Barnard, president and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine.
“Certain foods — chocolates, cheeses, sugars, starches and meats — are capable of stimulating the same part of the brain that responds to alcohol, tobacco, even heroin,” Barnard said. “They unleash a chemical called dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemical, and that’s why those foods are addictive.”
Foods that produce such cravings, and sabotage healthy diets, include sugary and starchy foods such as cookies, cakes and white bread, as well as chocolate, cheese and meat. As with drugs, coffee or alcohol, people go into withdrawal when they don’t have the foods.
“That’s where the cravings come from,” Barnard said. “People feel hooked on these foods.”
Those foods all stimulate the release of opiates in the brain, lifting your mood, he said.
Some are not only addicting, but are appetite stimulants as well.They play havoc with your blood sugar, which brings on cravings. Basically, the rush of sugar in the blood causes a person’s energy to rise too quickly. After the rise, the energy falls just as quickly, so the person feels as though they need to eat something to bring it back up again.
Not all starchy foods are on the list. Pasta, for instance, does not cause a blood sugar spike.
“Eat it — it’s not a bad starch,” Barnard said.
Despite the fact that certain foods are addictive, it doesn’t mean people should cut them out of their diets entirely. Instead, they should give themselves a break for them. The more you eat, the more you crave, Barnard says.
“If you haven’t had chocolate for three weeks, you won’t crave it,” he said. “You’ll break the cycle.”
Like Mom Said, Eat a Good Breakfast
If you’re not eating your favorite foods, what do you eat? One of Barnard’s key recommendations is eating a good, solid breakfast every day. A good choice for breakfast is oatmeal — the old-fashioned kind.
“That phrase that it will “stick to your ribs” is true,” Barnard said.
His study found that instant oatmeal prompts children to actually snack more. The instant oatmeal is powdery and actually spikes blood sugar, but the oats in the old-fashioned kind are more fiber-filled and slow down digestion.
Also for breakfast, he recommends fresh fruit, whole-grained, darker breads and veggie sausage. Always choose darker breads over white bread, which is one of the addictive starches, he said. Veggie sausage can serve as a source of protein. In general, Americans need to look to plants for proteins, rather than animals, because they are lower in fat and cholesterol, Barnard said.
“This breakfast will block our food cravings because nothing in it stimulates dopamine,” Barnard said. “It blocks hunger, as opposed to no breakfast at all. Second, it is high in fiber, and will stick to your ribs, so you’re not dying of hunger by 10:30, and looking for a cookie.”
Dopamine isn’t bad, it is the behavior that releases it that becomes the problem. So clearly we need to replace eating with another less destructive behavior. Exercise is the most logical choice because it is so beneficial in so many ways, but mostly because when we exercise we release “feel good” hormones. Pay close attention to advice on how to control starchy food cravings and you will have greater success losing weight.
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