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  • Food Cravings And How To Manage Them

    25th March 2021

    25th March 2021

    By Shivraj Bassi

    Uh oh, it’s that time of day again. Whether your weakness is the 11am sugar cravings, the mid afternoon stomach grumbles that demand junk food or that post-dinner feeling of needing something sweet to finish off your day, food cravings can be a real issue if you’re trying to shape up for summer, be mindful of your diet or are sticking to a fitness regime

    Common targets include salt cravings and sugar cravings - but don’t worry, because we’re going to teach you the best ways to manage food cravings, those pesky desires which could be the thing standing between you and your ideal diet and body. 

    What are food cravings?

    Cravings for food are intense, sometimes uncontrollable desires for specific food. Different to everyday hunger, they tend to be mental as opposed to physical cravings for food. They’re often linked to memory, as when we eat a food we enjoy, it gains a positive association in our mind. When this happens, it can affect how good we think it tastes and how good it makes us feel, and the more we eat of that specific food, the stronger these associations become. This means that a feeling, place or smell can induce a food craving. If you’ve ever had a bad day at work and found yourself craving the dish your mum would make for you after a rough day at school 9and who hasn’t?), you’ll know exactly how this feels. 

    There’s also a physiological aspect to food cravings, as they’re linked to reward centres located in the brain. Carb, sugar or salt-heavy foods such as fizzy drinks, crisps and sweets trigger signals in these reward centres, which makes our brains crave them more and more. This means that whenever you eat foods such as these, not only do you get the physical satisfaction of eating them but your brain rewards you for doing so. 

    Cravings aren’t inherently bad, and there’s nothing wrong with indulging them once in a while - after all, a little bit of what you fancy does you good. However, if you’re craving junk food that’s processed and high in sugar and salt very often, or if you believe that your cravings are preventing you from achieving your fitness goals, there are some great ways to beat them. 

    Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash

    Eat more protein

    One of life’s essentials, eating more protein helps keep you full and satisfied for longer. In the long term, this will reduce your appetite and help to stop you from overeating. When a study shows that when overweight men increase their protein intake to 25% of their calories, their cravings are reduced by 60%, you know that eating more protein is a good idea for cutting down on those cravings. 

    Drink more water

    The sensation of thirst can often be confused with the feeling of hunger. When you find yourself craving a specific food, try drinking a full glass of water, waiting a few minutes and seeing if the cravings fades away - if it does, it’s because your body needed water, not food. This has the added benefit of ensuring that you’re properly hydrated and when water is drunk before meals, may even help with weight loss, as shown in a study with middle aged people and older. 

    Walk away from the craving

    If nothing else is doing the trick, walking away from your craving is one way to beat it. Try taking a shower, going out for a walk or watching your favourite TV show. By distracting your mind and body, you’ll reduce the feeling that you want food. 

    Don’t get too hungry

    When you’ve ravenous, it can be hard to think straight. And when you’re really, really hungry, it will be much harder to walk away from a food craving, or choose something healthier to eat instead. To avoid this, try keeping healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit or one of our protein shakes around and eating small snacks regularly. By being prepared, you’re stopping cravings before they even start. 

    Meal plan

    On the subject of avoiding extreme hunger, meal planning is a practical way to reduce food cravings. By knowing what you’re going to eat, you eliminate spontaneity and uncertainty, and provide comforting structure. You’ll also be far less tempted to eat crisps for dinner if there are prepped ingredients waiting for you in the fridge. 

    Cut down on stress

    It’s been shown that stress can induce food cravings and influence how we eat for the worse. Additionally, stress raises cortisol levels, which is a hormone which can make you gain weight, particularly in the stomach area. Planning ahead, getting enough sleep and exercising frequently are all ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life and relax more, which will reduce the likelihood of you experimenting food cravings. 

    Other Insights

    Everything You Need To Know About England’s Newly Relaxed Genetically Modified Food Laws
    The latest guidance around genetically modified foods and genetically modified food laws are changing. Farming regulations have been eased, and this means that costs of production and rules around the creation of genetically modified foods have been altered to make the production of these foods easier… and this has major implications for the food market. So far, the relaxation of these rules and regulations only relates to England, but it’s rumoured that these changes are not far behind for the rest of the United Kingdom. Genetically modified food laws in the United Kingdom With the recent announcement of the relaxation of genetically modified food laws in England, here at Innermost, we felt it was important to dive into the facts, gain all the information and evaluate what this means for our food produce in the United Kingdom and on our supermarket shelves. These changes have sparked wide-spread debate and discussion around the pros and cons and genetically modified foods, so as a brand that produces our products with non-genetically modified ingredients, our interest in the progression of genetically modified food laws and the pros and cons of genetically modified foods is a key priority. First, let’s get the basics out of the way. What are genetically modified foods, what are the current genetically modified food laws in the UK, and how are they changing? Here we go… What are genetically modified foods? Genetically modified foods are foods that have been defined as those that have had their genetic material (aka, their DNA) altered in a way that natural development would not include. This modification is commonly achieved through the addition of genetic information from another organism (simply, another living thing) and can have drastic consequences for the production and longevity of food products such as fruits and vegetables. What does this mean for food production? Genetically modified foods can lead to greater quantities of production and a reduction in food prices. Not only this, but genetic modification can lead to a greater reliability of high-quality food produce due to the decrease in risk from disease. Winning! The story so far: genetically modified food laws in the United Kingdom The current (pre-relaxed) rules and regulations around genetically modified foods in the United Kingdom are pretty complex, we’re not going to lie. Broken down simply, though, the laws state that any genetically modified foods cannot be farmed without prior approval from regulatory agencies such as The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (or DEFRA, for short). It’s not easy to be approved, either, as since 1992, only 2024 applications have been approved. And after this, any foods that have been approved, that may contain a genetically modified organism (or, as it’s often abbreviated to, a GMO), must be accompanied by written documentation. Not to mention, this process is incredibly expensive, with a £5,000 application fee. As the rules currently stand, thousands of crops have to be thrown away due to their susception to disease such as Blight’s Disease. Whilst genetic modification could easily eradicate this issue and bring thousands more crops to our supermarket shelves, the rules around this method make it so that these foods go unapproved. And therefore, to waste. The proposed genetically modified food law change Whilst a change to these rules looks to be tricky, it’s doable. Scientists are backing the change, with reports stating that a relaxation of these rules would be a welcome change from EU laws, and allow greater, healthier production of crops for our consumption. This change would allow production of GMO foods to be in line with our American counterparts. The pros and cons of genetically modified foods To many, the ideology of genetically modified foods is hailed as fantastic scientific advancement. With the ground-breaking growth in technology that allows us to create a surplus of food to consumers at a low cost, high-yield outcome, many would argue, “why wouldn’t we take advantage of these abilities?” We could go on all day about this debate, but to sum up years of back-and-forth between scientists, farmers, the law and everyday consumers, here’s some of the main arguments towards integrating genetically modified foods into our lives. The pros of genetically modified foods Reduced use of potentially harmful pesticides The creation of drought-resistant foods Accelerated growth speed Better tasting food Less food waste Longer shelf life for food Now, looking at the above list, you’re wondering how anyone can object to the introduction of genetically modified foods. Lower food prices, greater taste, a drop in food waste and a longer shelf life? Sign me up! Well, not everyone feels that way… The cons of genetically modified foods The potential of allergic reactions Genetic modification is a relatively new process The potential for resistance against illness Could lead to the production of harmful toxin Potential loss of nutritional value Summary In light of this proposed relaxation, we thought it was important to mention that all of our products are non-genetically modified, as we prioritise natural, effective ingredients. More information around genetically modified food laws and the current changes are a hot topic at the moment, and something we are keeping a close eye on here at Innermost. We’re big believers in trusting the science. It’s something we’ve always done, are doing, and will continue to do, and keeping you (and ourselves) in the loop when it comes to big changes like this is something we feel super strongly about. Read more
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