The Chalene Show
Cravings. How do you stop them? A recent survey showed that a whopping 97% of women and 68% of men reported experiencing some sort of craving for a particular food at least once during the past year.
Regardless of statistics, the fact of the matter is that cravings are an issue faced by all of us. I want to help you understand the science behind cravings. As with anything, if you truly understand how your body works (in this case, why the cravings happen)… you’ll be able to be preventative.
So let’s talk about what a craving really is. The first thing you must realize is that a craving is completely different from hunger. We often interchange these words and claim that we are hungry for something when we are simply just craving that food item. Until recently, we didn’t understand why we crave specific foods. But research recently has tied a lot of cravings to our gut microbiome. Something that has been discovered recently is that it’s often the bad bacteria in our gut that we fertilize, because it is what we crave. Your gut is saying “we want to keep this bacteria alive, so we need you to eat more of that thing”. Many of these things tend to be carbohydrate sources, foods that are extremely high in sugar. The microbes in our gut biomes often require A LOT of the substance in order to grow and reproduce, which is why we tend to crave A LOT of the food.
Now I want you to think about the psychological relationship going on. Your brain and your gut are actually linked. In fact, your gut is often referred to (in the medical profession) as your second brain.
We can study this connection between the gut and the brain by looking to the bodies dopamine and serotonin levels. More than 50% of your bodies dopamine is produced in your gut; your dopamine is what primarily directs your mood and state of mind. Serotonin also is known to have a direct impact on one’s behaviors. 90% of Serotonin production occurs in the gut. Isn’t this crazy???? Or, is it just me? I mean… this explains so much behind the roots of our cravings. When dopamine and serotonin levels get out of balance, it can cause some serious cravings… and this all starts in your gut. I promise you, all of this information is going to help you curb your own cravings. To make sure you aren’t missing out on any information here, be sure to listen in to the full episode.
There are three hunger hormones you need to be aware of to fully understand what’s going on in your gut. These hormones can be known as Leptin, Ghelin, and NPY.
Leptin’s primary responsibility is to release fat cells that tell your body how much energy to take in. When your body takes in the same amount of calories that your body is being told to take in, Leptin allows your body to feel full. Now for some people, they eat and eat and they never seem to feel full. This isn’t because this person has a bigger stomach and can cram more food in there… it is because this person most likely has a hormonal imbalance. Hormones can get very out of balance and in result lose their functions.
Think of Ghrelin as the grumbling gremlin. This hunger hormone provides you with the longing to eat, eat, and eat some more. It also signals your brain when you don’t need to eat. It’s easy to say that this hormone has a pretty big responsibility, and that if it is out of whack… things can go pretty whack.
Lastly, let’s talk about the hunger hormone NPY, which stands for Neuro-Peptide Y. This hormone can be much stronger and eviler than Ghrelin if it wants to be. Its primary reason for releasing is for calorie restriction. When it comes to the responsibilities of NPY, it’s primary function is to tell your body where to store the energy. You can imagine it asking a bread roll you have consumed, “Do we store you as fat? Or, do we store you as energy?” Now… when Leptin is low, NPY kicks into overdrive and it stores more and more of what is consumed as fat.
Now how do our hormones get so off balanced? There’s a few main reasons that I will explain to you in depth in this episode. I’ll touch on them briefly here…
The first is SLEEP. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. If you don’t get enough sleep, your Ghrelin will kick into overdrive. In result of this, your Leptin is lowered and your NPY is increased tremendously. And what happens in result of that?… We crave food.
The second reason your hormones get out of whack is STRESS. You’ve heard this one before too, I’m sure. Stress is reduced by evaluating so many different components of your life. I always tell people… If you wanna lose wait, don’t go on a diet. What you need to do is put your life on a diet. Declutter your space, whether that space be mental or physical. Get your life in order, create systems, and you will find yourself with a healthier mentality that will make losing weight seem much more attainable.
This is how you can take control of your hormones TODAY.
1. Be mindful of the type of food you eat
2. Be mindful of when you eat. You can try shortening the time window in which you consume food.
3. Don’t restrict calories. This will kick your hunger hormones into overdrive. Calories are a myth (I have a whole episode on this, click here to listen (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/calorie-counting-myths-and-misconceptions-287/id911042029?i=1000407489895&mt=2)).
I hope this information will help you to understand your body and the science behind your cravings. Listen in the full episode for even more information! Once you listen, I urge you to relisten. Commit this science to memory. This will most definitely help you to stay in control of your hormones.
If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to hit me up on the socials OR send me a message on Speakpipe chalenejohnson.com/askchalene.
Download – Episode 288 – Stop Craving Carbs Sugar and Junk Food Naturally link:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/stop-craving-carbs-sugar-and-junk-food-naturally-288/id911042029?i=1000407656246&mt=2
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
What a craving is (2:08)
Normal, hormonal, neuronal, and inflammatory related signals are constantly being relayed between our gut and our brain (7:55)
What connects the gut and the brain (8:08)
Dopamine and Serotonin production in the gut and brain (9:50)
Leptin is a thermostat for your hunger (11:30)
Ghrelin signals your brain that “we need to eat” (12:55)
If you’re not properly resting your body, you will crave more carbs (16:20)
How you can address your hormones TODAY (18:00)
And so much more…