Food cravings? Certain carbs may be the reason

Food cravings? Certain carbs may be the reason

A recent study brings to light how carbohydrates in your diet may actually make you hungrier—causing you to overeat.

Carb-packed foods like pastas, breads, cookies and sugary drinks are known to increase and decrease blood sugar levels but researchers say they also affect parts of the brain that involve hunger and cravings. The study from Boston Children’s Hospital was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Lead study author David Ludwig, said in a statement, that those who notice these effects should try avoiding carbs to help reduce their urge to eat more. The effort can also aid in weight loss, Ludwig said.

“This research suggests that based on their effects on brain metabolism, all calories are not alike,” he said in a statement. “Not everybody who eats processed carbohydrates develops uncontrollable food cravings. But for the person who has been struggling with weight in our modern food environment and unable to control their cravings, limiting refined carbohydrate may be a logical first step.”

Healthy alternatives
Barbara Melendi, senior dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says it’s important to remember that our daily calorie intake should consist of 45 to 55 percent of the right kind of carbohydrates.

“People are surprised to learn that all fruits are carbohydrate-rich foods and they are great for fiber and cancer prevention,” she says. “Dairy products like milk and yogurt also contain carbs.”

Melendi recommends avoiding highly processed foods like candy, soda, cookies, snack cakes, etc.

“In processed foods, fat and carbs often go hand-in-hand, so limiting portion sizes of processed carbs is especially sensible for weight management,” she says. “Nutrient-dense carbs like whole wheat buns, quinoa salads, fresh fruit kabobs and Greek yogurt-based dips supply significant amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and in some cases, protein.”

This is in contrast to “empty calories” like mayonnaise-based salads, refined white buns, potato chips or sour cream-based dips, which have relatively high calories but fairly minimal nutritional value, Melendi explained.

“Of course, you should round out your summer plate with lean proteins and lots of fresh cut veggies,” Melendi says. “And don’t forget to watch the carbs in beverages. Try fruit-infused and sparkling waters or unsweetened iced herbal teas as an alternative to sugary sodas and fruit juices.”

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One Comment

  1. Per the functional medicine crowd, go with the Paleo diet instead????

About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.