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Fending Off those Food Cravings

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Read a great article last night and found it online today online.wsj.com/article/S

Research has found:
• Food cravings activate the same reward circuits in the brain as drugs or alcohol
• Women report having cravings more often than men, and younger people crave sweets more than older people
• 85% of men said they found giving in satisfying vs. 57% of women

Studies show that food cravings involve a complex mix of social, cultural and psychological factors, heavily influenced by environmental cues. (May explain the difference in satisfaction numbers?)

The bad news – “Brain researchers have documented that when people continually bombard their reward circuits with drugs, alcohol or high-fat, high-sugar foods, many of the dopamine receptors in the system shut down to prevent overload. And with fewer dopamine receptors at work, the system craves more and more, insatiably.”

The good news – “The longer people stave off their food cravings, studies show, the weaker the urges become.”

WSJ offers multiple strategies for “embracing and controlling the urge”
• Eat chocolate in the middle of a meal or just after
• Try "cognitive defusion"—accept and observe your thoughts about chocolate (or whatever you crave) without acting on them.
• Exercise
• Distract yourself - chew gum or smell a nonfood item such as jasmine
• Set a timer for 30 minutes whenever a craving comes on

All great ideas to help us become "AWAKE! ALIVE! AWARE! and Appreciative of ALL that IS".

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