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Food Cravings: What They Really Mean

You may think your body’s telling you it needs specific nutrients, but that’s unlikely

By Norine Dworkin-McDaniel

















  • Blog about it or write in a journal. Writing about what you’re feeling when your cravings hit may offer clues to any patterns between your emotions and certain foods.
  • Wait it out. Take a walk, update Facebook, phone a friend, fold some laundry. Distracting yourself buys time for the craving to pass. “Finding something else to do may make you feel better or forget your craving temporarily, but most importantly, it weakens that automatic link between thinking of food and eating it,” Pelchat says.
  • Make it hard to get. Studies done at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab show that the more inconvenient it is to get a food, the less of it you’ll eat. So don’t keep trigger foods in the house. Move the candy dish off your desk. Wrap brownies in foil, then bury them in the back of the pantry.
  • Get a kid-sized portion. Some people need to go cold turkey, but for others, complete denial just makes cravings stronger. In that case, allowing yourself small portions, even daily, of your food of choice may curb the craving.
  • Eat with your non-dominant hand. In University of Southern California studies, popcorn eaters at the movies who ate with their opposite hands, consumed about 13 percent less — and eating less reduces the craving.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel writes nationally about health, nutrition and sexuality.

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