How do I avoid the nibbles

Cravings: This is how you defeat the fight against nasty binge eating

Sugar-sweet chocolate, gummy bears, ice cream, salty chips, hearty cheese - you can hardly stop your cravings for something sweet or savory? Your willpower is decreasing step by step and your appetite seems to be limitless.

But why this violent binge eating right now? You have been eating really healthy and balanced all day long - and now this!

FIT FOR FUN explains to you what is behind the phenomenon of cravings.

What signals your body sends you when you suddenly have a strong craving for a certain food.

Plus: Recipes against cravings as well as tips on how to stop cravings and best avoid them completely.

Where does cravings come from?

The strong cravings for certain foods, especially for something unhealthy, can have many reasons. Starting with the fact that we mostly interpret thirst as a feeling of hunger and instead of reaching for water, we reach into our snack drawer.

Especially if the snack comes in the form of a chocolate bar, it can have the following effect on the blood sugar level: the carbohydrates from a chocolate bar are available super quickly, so that the blood sugar level skyrockets and there is an increased release of insulin.

Which in turn causes the blood sugar level to drop sharply. The result: renewed hypoglycaemia and hunger - a vicious cycle.

Influenced by hormones

In addition to the blood sugar regulator insulin, certain hormones that are responsible for our feelings, moods, stress reactions and our sleep, for example serotonin, norepinephrine, cortisol and growth hormones, have an influence on our feeling of hunger.

Various studies show that if you lack sleep (less than 7 hours of sleep), your body releases more of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite.

We react similarly to stress: We rush from meeting to meeting, forget to eat and suddenly, when we calm down, hunger comes in with full force - high levels of cortisol occur.

Then practically nothing is safe from us - the urge for reward is too strong at that moment.

Another stress phenomenon: frustration eating. You had a busy day and want to reward yourself with chocolate, chips, burgers or pizza and you are putting obstacles in the way of your sports or weight loss success yourself.

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Indication of deficiency symptoms

Sometimes, however, a symptom of deficiency is hidden behind the sudden cravings for something specific.

Nutritional psychologists agree: Cravings are often the result of a specific nutritional deficiency.

For example, the urgent appetite for chocolate illustrates a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium from raw cocoa is particularly relevant here.

When it comes to cheese, the reason is a lack of calcium, salt, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

In the course of the article, we will show you how you can correctly interpret other deficiency symptoms and how you can then satisfy your cravings in a healthy way.

Morbid food cravings

If your cravings develop into an urge for food and distress, where your hunger needs to be satisfied immediately and in a severely unhealthy form, then this is an acute warning sign.

A strong appetite is due to a mental or physical disorder.

Physical disorders can include a thyroid disorder or a metabolic disorder in the form of diabetes mellitus. People with diabetes quickly develop hypoglycaemia, which manifests itself as cravings. The blood sugar level drops in one second to the next, unusually threatening.

Eating disorders and mental illnesses such as depression are often characterized by pathological food cravings. Migraine sufferers also complain of food cravings, which are usually the harbingers of severe headaches.

Cravings: When do you need to see a doctor?

You'd better speak to the doctor if you see these signs:

  • Daily food cravings
  • Very overweight (obesity, BMI> 30)
  • Targeted vomiting after the hunger attack (suspected eating disorder)
  • Constant feeling of hunger, high food intake, but still weight loss (suspected hyperthyroidism)
  • Constant feeling of stress and nervousness
  • Feeling down and depressed
  • Cravings before severe headaches and visual disturbances occur
  • Constant feeling of cravings plus occurrence of intestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea and stomach pain

What types of food cravings are there?

Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates

The most common food cravings are the craving for sweets, cakes and biscuits. In this situation, our body is hypoglycemic and the blood sugar level is in the basement. It is quite possible that you missed the carbohydrates for breakfast or lunch or that you forbade yourself a lot during the day.

Our brain needs, among other things, glucose (carbohydrates consist of glucose molecules) and the amino acid glutamine in order to function efficiently. If there is insufficient glucose or glutamine available, the brain reacts with cravings for sweets.

A lack of serotonin, the happiness hormone, can also be a trigger for the sweet attack. Unfortunately, sugar only makes you happy for a short time.

However, anyone who indulges in a piece of chocolate every day after lunch does not suffer from cravings, but has acquired an eating habit: "After eating, I treat myself to something sweet" - a reward effect.

Cravings for salty food

The constant appetite for salty food shouldn't be easily waved off. This could also hide serious diseases of the adrenal gland, increased blood pressure, diabetes or thyroid dysfunction as well as deficiency symptoms, stressful living conditions or unfavorable diets.

Some deficiency symptoms with regard to minerals and trace elements can be triggered by profuse sweating (e.g. during intense sports), long meal breaks, too many unhealthy snacks, physical and mental exertion and acute lack of sleep.

A special form of cravings for salty foods is the cravings for cheese. Especially in stressful phases and when there is a lack of calcium, we increasingly feel the urge for cheese products.

Cravings in the evening

Clear thing! During the day you have given up too much for yourself and your body. Your blood sugar level is too low, your body appears stressed and releases cortisol. The result is food cravings in the evening.

Image gallery: The best anti-cravings in the evening

Cravings: signals from the body

Food cravings are far more than mere moods of our body. This is the conviction of the nutrition expert Werner Winkler, who in his book "Food cravings is healthy" advocates the theory that "our cravings signal certain deficiencies in vitamins and minerals". Those who fundamentally correctly interpret the signals of their body could prevent serious deficiency symptoms in the long term.

What is behind the desire to eat?

This table will show you what kind of cravings tells you about your body and how you can counteract the craving for food in a healthy way.

Hunger forWhat your body needsHealthy food cravings
chocolateMagnesium, glucoseBanana, nuts
Sweets (e.g. gummy bears)glucoseBanana, nuts, dried fruit (sparingly)
cakeglucoseFruits, vegetables, whole grains
Chips & salty nutssaltWhole grain bread with salt, olives
Pizza & BurgerSalt, energyVegetable sticks with hummus + nuts + hard-boiled egg
fleshIron, vitamin B1Lentils, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, broccoli
AppleWater, vitamin C.different types of fruit, water e.g. lemon water
cheeseVitamin A, B12, calcium, energy, salthigh quality cheese, broccoli, salmon
PotatoesVitamin K and potassiumPotatoes, sweet potatoes
Fried (e.g. French fries)Energy, fatty acidsAvocado bread, fish (e.g. salmon)

How can I avoid and stop cravings?

We have tips and hacks for you on how to stop your cravings or not let them flare up at all:

  1. Meal times for your meals: Eating regularly helps against endless appetites. Incorporate fixed eating breaks into your day and stick to the times. Once your body gets used to it, your feeling of hunger will regulate itself.
  2. Breakfast helps !: Obviously, your regular meals also include breakfast. If you have an appetite in the morning, you should eat with a clear conscience. Don't pinch your cereal to save calories. Otherwise you will have more appetite at a later hour - greetings from cravings!
  3. Water works wonders: We often mistake hunger for thirst. So your first measure against supposed hunger should always be a glass of water. This has no calories and protects against dehydration. Ideally, you always have water within reach so that you don't forget to drink so quickly.
  4. Movement slows down desires: Exercise burns calories, which is why we are so hungry afterwards. In the long term, however, your training can curb your appetite. Regular exercise will normalize your feeling of hunger.
  5. Power with proteins:A protein-rich diet with chicken, beans or quark helps to prevent the blood sugar level from rising and falling. You will have more energy throughout the day!
  6. Hunger stopper hot drink: Replace your dessert with a cup of tea. Green tea or peppermint, in particular, can curb your appetite. The hot drink fills the stomach pleasantly and displaces the Jieper for sweets as if by itself.
  7. Honesty wins: Deal with your appetite and be honest with yourself. Do you want to raid the fridge out of grief or stress? Be aware of where your cravings are coming from. Then make the decision whether and what you want to eat. And since you have regular meals (point one!), You can actually answer that by looking at the clock.

Recipes and snacks against cravings

We at FIT FOR FUN also get caught up in hunger pangs from time to time. Here you can see what experience has shown to help us and get us back on the right track:

  • Almonds - a handful is enough to satisfy the sweet tooth
  • Banana - especially when you feel like chocolate, it is sometimes a sign of magnesium deficiency. Banana helps!
  • Oatmeal in combination with low-fat quark, linseed and a handful of fresh fruit is a real miracle weapon
  • Vegetable sticks with hummus - combats your cravings for something salty
  • Spoon half a grapefruit. The bitter substances lower the release of insulin and curb your appetite
  • Green tea or ginger tea curb your appetite
  • Water, water, water

Broccoli is one of the top sources of fiber and, thanks to its abundance of phytochemicals, ensures that insulin levels are kept flat and fat storage is reduced. Lentils keep you full for a long time and provide you with a lot of protein.

Recipe:Apple and cinnamon porridge