We’ve all experienced the feeling of food cravings, but do you know what is going on inside your body when they occur?
Two main players ghrelin and leptin are hormones responsible for your body’s hunger signals. Your body is designed to be able to regulate your appetite with the help of these two hormones. Leptin regulates your appetite when you’ve eaten, and ghrelin cranks up your appetite when you need food.
When in balance the dance between these two hormones allows us to eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’ve had enough. Not so simple, however.
Ghrelin the ravenous gremlin
When you eat sugar, your body increases levels of leptin to regulate your hunger and fat storage, then ghrelin – the hunger-hormone – makes you overly ravenous, acting on the brain’s pleasure centres making you reach for another cream cake because you remember how good it’s going to make you feel (temporarily!).
If your diet is loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates, your ghrelin levels will rise in combination with the high levels of insulin being released. Ghrelin levels will then remain high even after eating, leading to excessive hunger, over-eating, cravings for unhealthy foods (usually refined carbohydrates and sugar) and weight gain.
Your moods and your brain play a role in cravings too, along with the processed foods that you may be consuming that have been designed by clever food manufacturers to get you hooked on their products.
Check out this video explaining what causes food cravings:
Junk foods overwhelm your brain
Junk foods are designed to be “hyper-rewarding” to the brain, so that you get addicted to them and want more. Big flavours and excess fat, sugar and salt overwhelm the brain when consumed. Nothing is nature would have the same effect when eaten.
The only way you can get your body to behave in a balanced and natural way is to eat natural foods. Cravings and addictions for food are fuelled by our hormones, moods and the foods we choose to eat.
Constant sugar highs from refined carbohydrates and junk foods confuse our body’s ability to regulate its hunger.
Fill your diet with an abundance of fresh produce from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and quality proteins and watch your cravings drop away.
Your body is designed to work with nature, not against it.
If you’d like to curb your cravings, eliminate your addiction to unhealthy foods and get your body feeling good again, sign up to our online 30 day program.
Jo Rowkins, DipNT MBANT, nutritional therapist and founder of Awakening Health.