What is the meaning of food cravings? Didn't you always think only women experienced them? At times of pregnancy or during their menstrual cycle? That is a myth, dear men, and we are here to bust it through this blog!
A food craving is often termed as an uncontrollable urge or desire to eat a specific type of food at a particular time of the day. These are often stronger than usual hunger pangs. Different men crave different kinds of foods. This is a chief reason why men often struggle to drop weight or maintain it in their daily lives.
So What Causes Food Cravings?
There are physical causes and mental causes. Remember, awareness and acknowledgment of the cravings are the first steps to realizing what triggers them and overcoming them.
Physical Causes of Food Cravings Among Men
Leptin and Ghrelin Imbalances
- An imbalance in these hunger and satiety hormones causes various men to crave more food than other men.
- Poor quality of sleep is responsible for disrupted hormones too. These hormones are often related to hunger-regulating hormones that, in turn, intensify food cravings among men. Herbs like Ashwagandha have been used to induce sleep and are very helpful.
- Fibers and proteins are the nutrients that help men feel full. An imbalanced diet that lacks these same nutrients can bring on waves of hunger cravings if you have not consumed these calories in their proper amount.
- Moreover, inadequate hydration or consuming minimal fluids can also intensify the feelings of hunger. Evidence has also suggested the presence of a certain bacteria in your gut determines the frequency and intensity of the cravings men face. This is why one must recognize the importance of gut health and the ability to recognize signs of an unhealthy gut.
- Exercise is extremely important. Physical activity like taking a simple walk could help reduce food cravings considerably. Similarly, if you haven't been getting the exercise you are typically used to doing, there is a high chance you will experience food cravings.
- Processed goods are bad news. These are rich in fat and sugar content that could cause possible addiction to these types of foods, making you crave them more.
Also read: 5 exercises to boost weight loss
- Cortisol is the primary hormone responsible for stress in the male body. High cortisol levels result in increased cravings for food and a higher chance of binge-eating behaviors.
- Does your personality have anything to do with it? Some evidence also suggests that men with impulsive behaviors or a generally addictive personality may be more likely to experience hunger cravings.
- Often, your brain is conditioned to eating particular food in a specific situation. Popcorn and a movie, for example. This may result in you craving popcorn every time you watch a movie, whether it is accessible or not. Interesting, right?
- Your mood may also have a role to play. For example, men often crave comfort food when their moods are low or negative.
Types of Cravings
Naturally, this refers to craving specific foods like one's most loved chocolate, a particular burger from a specific restaurant, or the potato chips of a specific flavor.
This is the desire to eat just about any food or the compulsive need to eat. This could be attributed to hunger pangs. However, it could also mean you are thirsty. Try drinking water the next time you feel this and observe how you feel after.
"Salt - or sodium is required by the male body for its muscles to function. In most cases, some men prefer more salt over others, which is nothing to worry about. However, a sodium addiction may also take place, and it is one to watch out for.
Craving sugar and sweets
- We already have a high intake of sugar in the Indian diet. But when you begin intensely craving a pie after breakfast and lunchtime is nowhere in sight- chances are, there is something wrong with your blood sugar levels. It is most likely that you have low blood sugar in such cases.
- Carbohydrates are responsible for providing your body with energy. Hence, when you feel tired or low on energy, you will crave carbs.
- So you felt low on something, and you ate it. Where's the problem? When you eat something sweet, your blood sugar levels spike immediately. However, that is almost always followed by a crash that makes you crave something sweet to eat once more. It's a vicious cycle.
- So how do you stop this from happening? Eat carbs in little amounts daily to maintain a balance in blood sugar levels. You can also substitute sugar with Honey for weight loss. If you consume a sweet, make sure it is intertwined with your meal so that the sugar is absorbed by your blood slower than usual, minimizing the danger of a sugar spike. Feel free to try these teas for weight loss that can curb your appetite and cravings, helping maintain a balanced weight.
Craving carbs - bread, pasta, potatoes
Wanting to consume carbohydrates is yet another indication of low blood sugar. These may occur if you are actively trying to cut down on your carbs. So what do you do? Try to include a small portion of starchy carbs in your diets, such as potatoes, bread, pasta, and rice.
Craving fatty or fried foods
- If fries are turning into a daily affair, it's time to look at your diet. These kinds of foods aren't exactly healthy for us. A lot of us try to avoid eating too many of them. Still, if you're craving them, the reason might be more psychological than physical.
- A craving for fatty foods may be a kind of emotional release from the restriction - we always want what we can't have. Having said that, if we have eaten a lot of low-fat, low-calorie food, there may be a biological drive to seek out some calorie-dense, high-fat food.
Always denying food cravings usually leads to feeling as if the person is in dietary jail. Eventually, everyone wants to be out. Hence having portion control and avoiding strict food fad diets, and becoming a mindful eater will be helpful in the long run.
- Andrew J Hill, May 2007; The psychology of food craving - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17466108/
- Candice A. Myers, Corby K. Martin, and John W. Apolzan, March 2019; Food Cravings and Body Weight: A Conditioning Response - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6411047/
- Louisiana State University, December 2018; New review of scientific studies confirms food cravings can be reduced - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181211190021.htm
- AnnaMassey and Andrew J.Hill, June 2012; Dieting and food craving. A descriptive, quasi-prospective study - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666312000219