Most of us get cravings for certain foods, but have you ever wondered why? Well, we live in an environment where every kind of food is available to us and we all have our favourites. However, we don’t just crave that particular food because it tastes good and has a nice texture, it’s much more complex than that.
The sciencey bit…
Our favourite food will trigger the release of hormones, which are part of the body’s feel-good, reward system - in particular, dopamine. This is not only a primal biological system that prevents us from starving, but the release of dopamine contributes to addictions, so that means some people can essentially become addicted to their favourite food(s)! Some evidence even suggests nutrient deficiencies may make us crave certain foods that contain those nutrients too. So, with these forces working against us, it’s no surprise losing weight can be a challenge.
The good news is that if you've got a particular craving that you cannot shake, there may be a more nutritious option you can have in its place! Here are a few classic cravings and some alternatives that are healthy and may help you fill in those gaps in your nutrition.
Top tip: Did you know that each meal replacement product from The 1:1 Diet contains around a third of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals? This means that you can satisfy some nutritional cravings whilst on your nutrient-packed weight loss Plan, as well as various foods discussed below, depending on which Step you’re following (speak to your Consultant about what you’re allowed if you’re unsure!).
Chocolate – with its creamy texture and sweet taste, chocolate can really trigger our dopamine receptors. Also, a craving for chocolate could mean that your body might actually be after a boost in magnesium! You can find magnesium in almonds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, figs and spinach! But if it has to be chocolate, no problem. Just ask your Consultant for the range of chocolate bars, bites and shakes available on Plan that can help satisfy that desire if the spinach doesn’t cut it!
Sugary foods – sugary foods are tempting because they are the surest way to get a big dopamine hit. Or, if we go with our nutrient deficiency theory, perhaps it is a craving for vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium or folate found in fruit. So grab an orange or a kiwi if the Step you are on allows it, or try one of our delicious fruity smoothies, which also pack the vitamins and minerals in! You can choose from Raspberry, Coconut and Oat Smoothie, Apple and Blackcurrant, Cherry and Berry, or our Breakfast Smoothie with Oats.
Carbohydrates – the classic, you want to pile your plate high with bread, pasta and potatoes but you know that they’re not allowed on Plan. Your mind may just be playing tricks on you, or maybe it’s instinctively telling you it needs B vitamins or potassium? Of course, big servings of carbs can give you a similar blood sugar hit to eating pure sugar, so again, maybe it’s all about the dopamine. Regardless, you can get all your B vitamins from our full meal replacement range.
To kick-start your weight loss this year, find a Consultant today. They will advise you on allowed foods for your recommended Step and provide you with guidance on a diet and weight-loss plan to help you kick these cravings for good!