You’ve just eaten, you’re actually still a little full and yet you’re overcome by an incredible feeling of hunger? Then we are talking about ravenous hunger. Especially for people who are on a diet or want to lose weight in other ways, cravings are the biggest enemy. This is because cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods are particularly strong. How can you recognise cravings and how can you effectively nip them in the bud? We’ll explain that to you in today’s blog post.

Heißhunger ist der Feind beim Abnehmen
Cravings are the enemy of weight loss

What is ravenous hunger?

People often confuse cravings with hunger, but these two types of hunger are very different. Hunger has a simple but extremely important function: the body absorbs nutrients through food to supply it with energy.

The feeling of hunger is stimulated and regulated by highly complex mechanisms. Your brain is the control centre that receives and processes various signals regarding hunger from the body. There are also certain receptors in the stomach that signal to the brain that it is empty and needs food.

Cravings, on the other hand, behave differently. It is the simple craving for certain foods, which in most cases are rather unhealthy. In many cases they have a high calorie density and few nutrients, contain a lot of sugar, unhealthy fats and don’t really fill you up.

Wouldn’t it be madness to have cravings for healthy foods like porridge? That would solve a lot of weight loss problems.

So the difference is pretty easy to explain – but how do cravings work and why do they happen?

Where do cravings come from?

There are many different triggers for cravings. From emotions such as sadness, boredom or stress to environmental influences such as the smell of certain foods can lead to a craving.

When people have food cravings, they tend to reach for carbohydrate snacks because they lead to increased serotonin levels. After consuming them, you feel better, but this feeling doesn’t last long either. This is another reason why cravings are so dangerous – your body wants to maintain this serotonin rush and sends you the same signals again.

Habits are also an important factor. If you often eat a chocolate bar first thing in the morning, you will do exactly the same thing many mornings after that. If you don’t have the chocolate or other things at hand, you won’t get rid of the feeling of cravings.

What are the causes of cravings?

The causes of cravings can be divided into three categories. Diet, physical causes and psychological causes.

When eating, you should avoid unhealthy snacks. They lead to a rise in blood sugar. The same applies to too many sweets. You should also avoid taking long breaks from eating. Repeated dieting and a calorie deficit that is too high will also increase the possibility of cravings. To help you know how many calories you should be eating and how to reach your calorie deficit, we have developed the Verival calorie calculator.

Physical causes can be pregnancy or breastfeeding. Diabetes mellitus is also often responsible for cravings. Hyperthyroidism can also be a trigger for relentless hunger. Metabolic diseases that impair the feeling of satiety are also an indicator of ravenous hunger.

Psychological causes can be stress, depression, various eating disorders or lack of sleep as well as poor sleep. When we sleep, the hormone leptin, which normally regulates our feeling of fullness, is released. When you sleep, a large amount of leptin is released. So if you sleep little or poorly, you have less of a feeling of satiety and therefore have more cravings.

The physical process in the body during cravings

The process in your body is relatively simple to explain. You eat an unhealthy meal and your blood sugar level rises quickly. Afterwards, however, it drops again just as quickly. This leads to cravings. This starts a cycle between cravings, an unhealthy meal and then cravings again. This should be avoided at all costs, because in the long run it can become quite unpleasant.

To avoid falling into the craving trap at breakfast, make sure you eat a healthy diet right from the first meal of the day. Many nutrients and fibres lead to a longer feeling of satiety, so you can prevent cravings.

Bereits beim Frühstück Heißhunger vermeiden
Avoid cravings at breakfast

How to stop cravings!

Resisting cravings is difficult – all of us have struggled with them at one time or another. And to avoid having to resist, you should take the right steps in advance to escape it. In the best case, you know where your cravings are coming from so they can’t surprise you anymore.

Healthy eating is important in the fight against cravings

The perfect foundation for all kinds of concerns about your body is a healthy diet. If you eat healthy foods and the right nutrients, you will ensure that you are not lacking anything. This actively prevents cravings. Complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and high-quality proteins will ensure that you stay satiated for a long time and don’t have to give in to cravings.

The multiplier of cravings: stress

Stress is not only hard on your body and mind. It can also hit your stomach relatively quickly. A little more time for yourself, a free weekend, exercise and maybe 20 minutes a day without any distractions – that’s how you can reduce stress and with it the cravings.

Mindful eating helps you fight cravings

According to studies, focused and mindful eating is a very helpful tool to avoid cravings. So when you have a sweet tooth, don’t deny yourself it every time. Make sure you really enjoy it, so you actively prevent cravings.

Sleep is just as important as food

The duration and quality of sleep are very important in preventing cravings. If you sleep poorly and little, you prevent the formation of the important satiety hormone leptin and thus have the unpleasant feeling of cravings immediately after getting up.

The best solution against food cravings

Already in the morning it is advantageous to start with the right nutrients. Breakfast is considered by many experts to be the most important meal of the day, and that’s exactly why you should start the day in a healthy way.

Porridge, for example, provides you with complex carbohydrates that fill your body’s energy reserves for the whole day. Porridge also contains important nutrients and dietary fibres that sustainably fill you up.

Complex carbohydrates and proteins are an important part of the fight against cravings. Physical activity or training is just as important as proper nutrition. Sleep, hydration and regular food intake can also play a small or large part in a healthier life without cravings.

Eating the right breakfast can help you start the day on a healthy note and avoid cravings. To help you do that, here are a few recipes with complex carbohydrates, protein and lots of nutrients:

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Low-Calorie Porridge

Simple porridge recipe for weight loss. Garnish your porridge with the right toppings and you have a fantastic, healthy porridge that will help you lose weight.
Prep Time3 mins
Let sit3 mins
Total Time6 mins
Servings: 1
Calories: 200kcal

Ingredients

  • 50 g oat flakes
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 130 ml water
  • healthy toppings: e.g. berries, healthy fats (almond paste)

Instructions

  • Heat the water (for example in a kettle)
  • Put the oat flakes in a bowl with a pinch of salt
  • Pour the boiling water into the bowl 
  • Stir the porridge well until it has reached a creamy consistency
  • Decorate the porridge with your toppings

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcal
Breakfastshake
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5 from 156 votes

Creamy Breakfast Shake

Ingredients

  • 35 g Breakfast Shake
  • ½ banana
  • 200 ml milk or plant drink
  • 30 g yoghurt
  • strawberries

Dominik

Schreiben bereitet mir große Freude, weshalb ich euch auf diesem Blog mit den verschiedensten Themen rund um Ernährung uns Sport informieren darf. Außerdem interessiere ich mich sehr für Tennis und bin nebenbei auch noch als Musiker und Produzent unterwegs.