One of the most difficult challenges for people when it comes to losing weight is food cravings but a low carb, high fat fat diet is ace at reducing them. Although our ancestors originally had craving that were healthy signs that they needed to eat, these days they have got completely out of control. This is because the foods we usually have the strongest cravings for were not found in the wild.
In today’s world we have almost limitless access to all the unhealthy foods we crave.
There are three types of cravings:
- association cravings
- confused cravings
- accurate cravings
Association cravings are where we expect certain foods together, in certain amounts, or at certain times. We don’t need more than a piece of fruit or two a day. But if you always have five, you will crave fruit until you eat five pieces.
Confused cravings are where you mix up a craving for a certain nutrient with a craving for a whole food. If you crave chocolate, for example, then your body may lack the mineral magnesium as is a source of magnesium.
Accurate cravings are when we genuinely need the exact thing we are craving. This is usually limited to cravings for simple, fresh foods. If you would happily eat a few grains of salt, that’s a real salt craving. Whereas if you want fries with salt, that is an association craving.
Related reading: What do your crazy food cravings tell you?
How A Low Carb, High Fat Diet Will Reduce Food Cravings
There are many ways of fighting cravings, and many of them work. But one tried and tested way is a low carb, high fat diet. These diets work on multiple fronts to reduce food cravings and, when followed correctly, will help you understand and fight cravings to ensure you eat as healthy as possible.
Carbs are a food where the more we eat of them, the more we crave them. This is because when they get digested and absorbed into the blood they cause an increase in blood glucose which then triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas. Any glucose that is not used for energy or stored in cells as glycogen, which can be used for energy at a later date, is stored as fat.
Often this cycle of carb eating and rise in blood glucose causes the pancreas to overproduce insulin which results in a crash in blood sugar which makes us hungry and crave certain foods again to quickly restore our blood sugar.
Sugary food takes us on this unhealthy roller-coaster but fat provides us the sort of slow and steady release that encourages more stable satiety. As we are already burning fat and ketones when we eat low carb, if we run out of fuel our bodies are much happier to use our own body fat. This results in a more stable appetite and fewer cravings.
The longer we go eating low carb, high fat like the Keto Diet, the more we are able to fight the low satiety of high carbs and develop the full satiety of high fat. When we follow this type of diet we are essentially retraining our bodies to think of carbs as rare, complementary calorie sources, and fats as abundant, primary calorie sources.
Related reading: How Many Carbs Do You Need To Eat To Lose Weight?
Many of our richest sources of vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients are found in carbohydrate foods like vegetables, fruits and beans.
On the other hand unhealthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that are likely to contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and lead to diabetes and heart disease
By reducing our carb intake we allow our bodies to develop healthy cravings for foods that are much richer in micro-nutrients. Avoid chocolates and have nuts for magnesium instead, eat non-sweet fruit, and enjoy leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and organ meats for minerals, and before long you will crave these things, not candy bars.
Finally, eating fewer carbs fine-tunes us to our cravings, letting us know when they are accurate. If you eat high carb all the time, you will just crave carbs, without distinguishing between the different nutrients you need. You may even confuse thirst for wanting more carbs. On the other hand, when you eat low carb you become more aware of the nuances of every food, and crave specific foods for their nutrients, not just their taste.
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