One of the main reasons we fail our weight loss goals is because we give in to our cravings. Craving is different from normal hunger in that it represents an insatiable desire for a specific kind of taste or food. More often than not, cravings are noted for sweet foods or fried, high fat containing foods, carbohydrates and salty foods. Dr Oz in his recent show detailed on the different forms of cravings we experience and offered solutions on how to beat them.
Three volunteers Valerie, Jamie and Vanessa, talked about their cravings and that covered three most important aspects of food we crave for. Dr Oz explained the underlying reasons for each one of those cravings and how to deal with them. Vanessa talked about ice-cream, cookies, chocolate – a lot of sugar. Jamie craves for carbohydrates in general and Valerie was all for salty foods like chips, cheese and crackers etc. One common thread in all these women was that they wanted their favorite food even when they were not hungry. Food was like a ‘feel good factor’ for all of them, at least momentarily.
While explaining Vanessa’s late night sugar cravings, Dr Oz demonstrated how consuming sugars at wrong times, lead to huge sugar spikes in our blood. Fluctuating sugar levels continue all day long, with each peak followed by a fall when body craves for more sugar. Thus, basically it is the body trying to adjust the sugar levels and unable to, because sugar is being fed into the system independent of the metabolic need represented by hunger. The fix for this is to maintain the blood sugar level and preventing the sugar spikes. Dr Oz provided simple tips on how that can be achieved.
Dr. Oz: Craving Killers To Shut down Your Appetite
1. Sugar Cravings TRIFECTA
Dr Oz talked about ‘sugar craving trifecta’ which consists of 3 different categories of foods that can be used together to prevent the sugar craving. First is protein that is digested slowly and spends considerable amount of time in the digestive system before it is absorbed thereby preventing the sugar spikes. Second is high fiber, low glycemic index carbohydrates that won’t disturb the blood sugar level as much and third is healthy fat. Studies have shown that combining these three types of foods and eating every 3 hours helps stabilize blood sugar about 60% better. A typical meal can be a breakfast consisting of eggs, toasted whole grain bread and an avocado or a lunch consisting of grilled chicken, boiled quinoa and olive oil. Dr Oz also mentioned that skipping breakfast could be one of the major reasons why Vanessa, like many of us, craved for sugar at night.
2. Carbs Cravings
The most important reason for carbohydrate craving is emotions. Most of us reach for carbohydrate rich foods when we are seeking comfort. We are emotionally run down or angry or depressed and our favorite carbohydrates can pump up our spirits. Carbohydrates do that by raising the level of a neurotransmitter called ‘dopamine’, which is also known as a ‘feel good hormone’. Jamie likes to munch on donuts, pasta and other carbohydrate rich foods that eventually increases her weight. Dr Oz offered a simple trick to fool our body into comfort without eating the carbohydrates. He recommended crushed red pepper flakes. It has been known for long that red chilli peppers can stimulate dopaminergic neurons to secrete dopamine and that secretion is appreciably higher than that stimulated by carbohydrate intake. In order to permanently get rid of carbohydrate cravings initiated by emotions, Dr Oz recommended to add a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of red chilli pepper flakes to every meal.
3. Salt Cravings
Craving for salt often results from dysregulated Ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Dr Oz explained to Valerie, why she felt hungry all the time and could not stop eating salty foods. It was because her Ghrelin levels were up and her appetite was never suppressed. There is no better way of controlling this hunger than to regulate the hunger control center of the body.
The last part of the episode talked about regulating our hunger hormones using a herb named Caralluma fimbriata.This herb was used by ancient tribes in India thousands of years ago to curb appetite during their lengthy hunting trips. This herb can be eaten raw or pickled as well as can be used as a condiment in cooking. Recent studies have now found that this herb contain compounds that act on the hypothalamus (the hunger control center of the brain), as well as on the stomach and stop the production of Ghrelin. Caralluma fimbriata is safe and if taken as a supplement, it can also stabilize blood sugar levels.
Dr Oz recommended taking 50 milligrams twice a day, once before breakfast and once before dinner. Caralluma fimbriata supplement is available online and in most drugstores. This could be one smart way of killing cravings and moving forward confidently towards achieving our weight loss goals.