101 Lifestyle Choices That Make You Crave Bad Food
by Court under Diet
Believe it or not, cravings for bad food are caused by lifestyle. This multi-part series will teach you how to cure yourself of bad food cravings by getting rid of the habits that cause them.
1. Drinking Diet Soda
For the last year or so, I have really been paying attention to what people have in their shopping carts at the grocery store. Sadly, the most obese and out of shape people almost always have diet soda.
There are studies to back this idea up. A study by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH and her colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center reported after an eight year study that people who drink diet soda are a LOT more likely to be overweight.
Fowler says that “there was a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day.” You can read more about this study here.
There have been multiple studies done in which rats and other animals were given the artificial sweeteners in diet soda, which was shown to stimulate more appetite and higher caloric consumption than their counterparts that were given real sugar.
I tested this theory myself and can tell you that based on my perception, drinking diet soda stimulates my appetite like crazy.
2. Drinking Other Diet Beverages
Just like diet soda, other diet beverages contain artificial sweeteners that can stimulate your appetite. Popular diet beverages include Powerade Zero™, Sundrop™, Crystal Light™, sugar free hot chocolate, Dasani™ flavored waters (and almost all other flavored waters), Fruit2O™, Vitamin Water Zero™, Nestle Pure Life™ flavored waters (like Orange Splash and Lemon Splash), Propel Zero™, and many others.
3. Drinking Low-Carb or Near-Diet Beverages
These beverages contain some sugar and some sweeteners. Popular low-carb beverages include G2™ (by Gatorade), Minute Maid Light™, low carb hot chocolate, Fuze™, Vitamin Water 10™, and of course many others.
4. Drinking Regular Soda
The sugars used in regular soda are extremely addictive. Refined sugar gets into the blood very quickly and causes blood sugar to spike almost immediately. This can contribute to an initial sense of well being and/or positive emotional feelings. Unfortunately, the body will reverse the blood sugar spike through insulin release, and when that happens, blood sugar will plummet. To fix the now low blood sugar, your body will need to get you to eat more. Since sugar is a quick fix for this issue, it’s likely that this is what your body is going to crave.
As a nasty side effect, liquid calories are also among the most easily turned to fat.
5. Drinking Fruit Juice
Many fruit juices have added sugars so they end up affecting us just like soda would. Other fruit juices of course have no added sugar. Unfortunately for us, these fruit juices can STILL contribute to bad cravings because they are also usually stripped of the fiber that helps slow down gastric emptying.
6. Drinking Protein Drinks
Surprisingly, almost all protein drinks (there are some exceptions) contain artificial sweeteners and as studies already cited in this article have shown, these sweeteners can stimulate our appetites.
I honestly HATE this one. I took protein shakes for 10 years. I still like them and want to drink them but I finally decided to ditch them for a trial period of 30 days. I never went back. It helped my appetite control, and as much as I hated that, I’m better off for it.
7. Not Drinking Enough Water
Even slight dehydration can stimulate our appetites. Our bodies need water and if they can’t get us to drink, they will often try to get the water they need through food. On top of that, hunger is often mistaken for thirst.
Drinking water can contribute in a huge way to the ability to control appetite. I drink a full 16 ounces of water every morning before breakfast (I know the amount because my fridge shows how much water it dispenses). It really helps me to have better hydration after a long period of not drinking water.
I also drink a full glass of water before all of my meals and throughout the day.
8. Consuming Caffeine
Caffeine will affect your body composition in a lot of ways. While caffeine seems to initially curb appetite, after a while it seems to really increase it. Researchers have shown that the cortisol increase caused by caffeine consumption stimulates appetite (Takeda et al, 2004).
I have also found that for me, caffeine messes with my blood sugar levels. I find if a lot more difficult to maintain a healthy diet when I consume caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to decrease insulin sensitivity in studies. With decreased insulin sensitivity, you will need to eat more to be satisfied.
Caffeine also gets you by increasing stress levels, which have been linked to an appetite increase.
Additionally, caffeine dehydrates your body.
On top of all of that, stress hormones cause your body to deposit fat in the belly which is another subject entirely, but probably one that concerns most people who will read this.
9. Drinking Alcohol
Several studies have shown that alcohol consumption, after a certain threshold, stimulates hunger and therefore increases caloric intake. You can check out one of the studies here, if you’re interested.
Alcohol can also contribute to other factors that make you crave food such as increased stress levels, poor sleep habits, etc.
Part 1 Recap
Drinking water, enough water, and only water can drastically change the amount of food cravings you have to deal with.
- 101 Lifestyle Choices That Make You Crave Bad Food (part 4)
- 101 Lifestyle Choices That Make You Crave Bad Food (part 5)
- 101 Lifestyle Choices That Make You Crave Bad Food (part 2)
- 101 Lifestyle Choices That Make You Crave Bad Food (part 3)
- Whole 30 Food Journal for May 15, 2012
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