What causes your afternoon cravings?

  • What causes your afternoon cravings?

    BY Catherine Sissons | ON Monday, 26 February 2018
  • Cravings are perceived as lacking will power when it comes to healthy eating.  I have heard it so many times before when clients feel disappointed that they couldn't say no to that piece of cake in the afternoon or they had to reach for the sweets or stop off at the bakery or café to get that food that was calling them.

    Cravings can be based on habit however it is more common that it is a message from your body telling you that you are simply unsatisfied from what you have previously eaten earlier in the day.  Firstly if your blood sugar levels are not stable throughout the day and they peak and trough rapidly you are putting yourself at greater risk of feeling like something sweet in the afternoon or after dinner.

    Your body works this way because you are just like a machine and you require certain fuel for what you expect from your body each day and what your lifestyle throws at you.  Your body is two thirds water so it requires food with a high water and nutrient content to replenish it and to help keep your immune system strong.  Your immune system is your body's security system to staying healthy.

    Produce is high in water content and also provides you with the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain a strong immune system. However fruit and vegetables alone are not enough to create satisfaction throughout the day.

    Your body needs carbohydrates and it also needs proteins to repair and build cells in your body. The brain, kidney and red blood cells choose to use carbohydrate as their primary fuel source and if it is not available it will send a message to the brain to seek out the fastest most available carbohydrate to do the job. 

    This is where you can feel like instant energy carbohydrates like sugars and flour based foods one to two hours after you have eaten a meal.

    Some produce contains more fibre than other produce and when it is coupled with the right amount of carbohydrates and proteins at your meal it can help stabilise the peaks and troughs that your blood sugars experience throughout the day.

    The six reasons that your body craves in the afternoon are as follows:

    1)      Not enough or no protein at your lunch so your body processes and absorbs your lunch too quickly leaving you feeling peckish one to two hours later.

    2)      Not enough or no produce at lunch time for your expectations on your body throughout the day for example stressful days, exercise days and days that you choose to have caffeine or alcohol all have different requirements.

    3)      No carbohydrate or the wrong type at lunch time and eaten at breakfast so your body starts with a low satisfaction quotient for that day and you are forever trying to get your blood sugars to a reasonable level throughout the day.

    4)      Your portions sizes are incorrect for your age, height and body size. I often see women not eating what they need to lose weight, gain energy and nourish their body because they are fixed on cutting or reducing calories to get a result.

    5)      Mood and hormones can affect your fuel consumption and you may have experienced this for yourself leading up to menstruation or around ovulation.  You feel a little more out of control around your eating than normal.  The time of your cycle has slightly different nourishment requirements to a normal day of eating.

    6)      Not enough or no flavour in your food. Clients often are scared of adding flavour to their food because there is so much hype around clean eating.  There is conclusive evidence based studies that show satisfaction comes from flavour in your food and adding fats depending on your requirement can be helpful way to creating greater satisfaction from your meal.   

     

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