On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing a few of my best strategies on how to reduce food cravings.
At the end of this post, I also share two hacks to reduce food cravings that you need to try for yourself.
So lets jump right into it.
Typically the cause of your food cravings is usually attributed to an imbalance of two hormones.
Food cravings from insulin are caused by blood sugar imbalances often from not eating frequently enough.
For example, tell me if this situation sounds familiar.
You are too busy at the office to go out for lunch and you didn’t pack any lunch from the previous night’s dinner.
This means you go 6-8 hours without eating. Then when you get home, you’re starving, so you eat a quick high carbohydrate meal.
These processed and refined carbohydrates are quickly digested and rush into the bloodstream as sugar.
In order to manage this sugar overload, your pancreas releases a lot of insulin to remove the excessive amount of sugar from your bloodstream, then either burns it as short-term energy, or in most cases, stores it as body fat.
This heavy release of insulin then cause your blood sugar levels to drastically drop, along with your energy.
You’re hungry again and you crave more sugar.
As this blood sugar rollercoaster cycle continues, your body begins to store more and more body fat.
The other main cause of cravings is stress.
The more stress you have in your life, the higher the production of the stress hormone, cortisol.
When cortisol is high, the body naturally craves sugar, since the release of insulin helps lower cortisol in the body.
This is why when stress levels are high, most people crave high glycemic refined carbohydrates for an instant rush of sugar.
I call these PFF meals: Protein, fat, and fiber.
The combination of these three equals higher levels of feeling full and keeps your blood sugar balanced, thus reducing cravings between meals.
Consuming a high protein meal as your first meal of the day, is key to reducing food cravings and keeping you feeling full throughout the day.
In the 3 week study, subjects were given either a:
After three hours of consuming one of these options, the researchers found differences in brain activity that led to decreased hunger levels and an increase in feeling fuller, longer.
The greatest difference in hunger was found in the subjects that consumed the high protein meal.
After eating a high protein meal, these subjects were less prone to snack and overeat throughout the day, thus reducing the risk of fat gain.
So when it comes to the timing of food, eating a higher protein meal as your first meal of the day, is more effective in controlling hunger, than a typical “Standard American Diet” (SAD) meal comprised of higher carbohydrates.
Not only that, but by starting your day with a healthy habit, creates the momentum for a healthier day.
As you eat more PFF style meals throughout the day, you keep your blood sugar balanced and you burn more stored body fat for energy, as your insulin is in check.
Working out can improve insulin sensitivity thus helping improve blood sugar management.
Working out also helps manage the stress in your life.
These workouts can be done at the gym, at home, or simply getting outside and going for a walk.
As mentioned earlier, living a high stressed life means cortisol levels will remain elevated, causing more sugar cravings.
For the past year I’ve been incorporating 20 minutes of guided meditation into my day.
But if you’re new to meditation, start with 5 minutes, or just be more mindful of the situation, and simply take 3 deep breathes whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Anytime I have a bad night’s sleep, I notice my cravings are definitely increased the next day.
Again, sleep deprivation causes a reduction in insulin sensitivity and an increase in cortisol.
This nasty combination is a sure fire way to have crazy cravings all day long.
Even if you follow all these tips to reduce hunger, sometimes the cravings still show up on occasion.
That’s when I have these 2 hunger craving hacks.
If you’re having a craving earlier in the day, have a coconut oil coffee or a coconut oil black or green tea.
I’ve been making coconut oil matcha green teas lately and love them.
The combination of the caffeine and the healthy fat in the coconut oil will help stop the cravings.
Just don’t go overboard with this as too much caffeine will have a negative effect on sleep and cortisol.
If your craving is later at night, try a soothing hot herbal tea.
And if that’s not enough, take a spoonful of almond butter.
It always soothes me and is a healthy way to reduce cravings.
I’ve been doing some research on the amino acid glutamine, and it’s effect of providing energy for the brain.
This may reduce the cravings and addiction to sweets.
When you feel a craving come on, add glutamine with coconut milk from a can, and stevia, if you need the extra sweetness.
You could even add some protein powder to it.
I heard Charles Poliquin talk about this food cravings killer shot.
Give it a try.
If you’re looking for delicious PFF meals with recipes, cooking videos, and meal plans, along with monthly workout programs are designed to reduce food cravings, you need to join our team at TeamLiveLean.com.
It works for me and Jessica, it works for all of our members, and it can work for you.
Thanks for watching and keep, Living Lean.
Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.