Many of us believe that a food craving is our body’s way of signalling that it needs a certain nutrient. But research shows that’s unlikely to be true – with one possible exception….
Research has found that one of the most effective ways to curb cravings is to cut the craved food from our diet – which runs counter to the argument that we crave what we need.
In one study, researchers carried out a two-year trial where they randomised more than 300 subjects to one of four diets with different levels of fat, protein and carbohydrates, and measured their cravings and food intake. All the groups lost weight, but when they ate less of a certain food they craved it less.
The researchers say their findings show that, in order to reduce cravings, people should eat the food they crave less often – possibly because our memories associated with that food fade over time.
It’s largely agreed that more work needs to be done into defining and understanding cravings, and developing ways we can overcome the conditional response we develop for unhealthy food. In the meantime, there are several mechanisms suggesting that the healthier our diet, the healthier our cravings.