Food cravings may come and go with different levels of intensity, but one thing is for sure - we all get them.
Sweet and salty are two of the top tastes we crave and chocolate probably wins as one of the most craved foods of all time.
The reasons for our cravings vary. Here's a recap of the science behind our food cravings as reported in the Chicago Tribune:
-- The underlying causes of food cravings are not well understood but are probably related to biology, emotion and maybe even evolution (it used to be advantageous to eat high calorie foods!).
-- Being "out of sorts" whether you're not feeling well or are experiencing stress can ignite cravings.
-- Just seeing a particular food can stir up cravings.
-- Men and women crave different foods depending on what they associate with the particular food. Women may crave chocolate and ice cream which don't involve any preparation time or clean up while men may crave a dinner entrée that reminds them of a special cook in his life.
-- Cravings are normal.
The question remains: if cravings are normal, then how can people most easily deal with them without "falling off of the dieting wagon?"
The key is to learn how to manage your cravings and satisfy them in healthier ways.
While counseling patients, I repeatedly give tips on how to satisfy that sweet tooth or salt craving with calorie and portion controlled treats.
It can be done â€" with moderation as your guide.