How To Deal With Cravings On A Low Carb Diet
You started your low carb diet, you make it through most of the induction (starting phase) and then after two weeks the cravings start to hit. This is the hard time for most people, willpower only lasts so long. This leaves you with a decision to make do you cave in to your cravings and eat the food you are craving or do you tough it out and try to get past your cravings? Lets analyze what cause cravings and then look at how to deal with cravings while you are on your low carb journey.
What Causes Cravings?
First we need to define what a craving is. According to Merriam Webster dictionary a food craving is defined as "a very strong desire for something." More specific a Tufts.edu article by Katie Fesler says "Cravings are an emotional states that give us the urge to seek out and consume particular foods."
When following low carb you naturally are going to crave carbs for some time as this is what you are used to eating and what you are restricting. If you are in you first couple weeks of low carb this will be when you experience these cravings the most, do not fear they will go away with some time. It is important you do not cave in to sugar and carbs during this period, it will severely delay your weight loss and could extend the "carb flu."
Why Do We Have Food Cravings?
It is evolution! We were designed that way.
According to Kent Berridge a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan our brains evolved to respond to food whenever the opportunity was available, especially when the food was very palatable (i.e. you do not see people craving a steamed chicken breast).
What Are Common Foods That Cause Cravings On A Low Carb Diet?
2) Carbs in general
Medical Causes of Food Cravings Are Possible
Low Thyroid and Carb Cravings
According to some websites, having sweet or carb cravings can be a sign of thyroid disfunction. If you are diagnosed with thyroid disfunction and are experiencing carb cravings it is important to restrict your carbs, having carbs will only make the worse.
A Huffington Post article details hormone imbalances and increased carb cravings.
Salt Cravings and Low Carb What To Do About Them?
Salt can be a sign that you have depleted adrenals. In the standard American Diet with highly processed foods people are eating way too much salt, if you are eating low carb you likely are not eating nearly as much salt, therefore you may not have enough salt in your diet. This is especially true if you sweat a lot or are highly active (i.e. working out a lot). In this case buy a high quality seas salt and once or twice per day put a pinch of this salt in a glass of water you are drinking.
Sugar Cravings and Low Carb What To Do About Them?
If you are trying to limit carbs having sugar cravings is a normal response by the body, you should continue to limit your carbs and avoid sugar at all costs. If you give in and eat sugar it is going to what to make you eat even more sugar and this will continue and endless cycle of sugar addiction.
Want to prove this to yourself, avoid sugar for a couple of months, then eat something like strawberries which have natural sugars, you will notice two things. First that they taste extremely sweet, almost like candy and second that they make you want more. Now I am not saying fruit is bad for you just using the test to illustrate a theory.
Overall, the best way to combat cravings is recognize them, understand what your body is saying. Sometimes you can substitute some similar food, other times you need to activate your willpower and remain strong.