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Food craving, the danger of cravings > Health and Wellness.

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The 'food craving' feels easy to recognize because all have experienced it more than once. If you look at this English term won't cost us understand its meaning: 'food' means food, and 'craving' can translate it by craving, craving, desire, even addiction. We are then referring to the uncontrollable urge to we sometimes feel by eating a particular food.
"'food craving' - explains Andrea Navarrete, health psychotherapist integrative Paideia (network of social and health care and educational professionals) - cannot be defined as a syndrome or disorder because to do so they would have to have performed studies that will indicate a series of concrete and easy to identify in a community, symptoms and there is still little information on this subject and has not established a diagnosis clear."

Is the 'food craving' a pathology?

"At the level of therapy and an extreme level, yes it can be understood as such. If a person is in constant search of a certain food, this may interfere with your normal life and here is where appears the alteration", Navarrete responds. In addition, 'food craving' can have serious consequences, both at a physical level - obesity, diabetes, hypertension--due to excessive consumption of unhealthy products, such as psychological, since after this massive intake, those affected feel guilty for his conduct.
In our country there was much research about the 'food craving' yes but there are international works that reveal its existence. The study of Weingarten and Elston (1999), for example, determines that 97% of teenage girls had ever episodes of uncontrollable desire for food, and 67% of the guys confirmed that they had also suffered. According to this work, teenagers are the target group more likely to suffer these episodes of uncontrollable craving for a particular food. This has been one of the paradigmatic studies from which has begun to talk more about it.

Causes of the 'food craving'

It is important to clarify the causes that cause a person to develop 'food craving' are considered still hypothesis, since there is not sufficient research that determined its origin. It is normal to associate it with the desire to drink something sweet or rich in carbohydrates.
"One of the theories out there about this problem, is related to low levels of serotonin (neurotransmitter responsible for regular sleep, appetite and mood), also related to the emergence of anxiety and depression." It has been observed that when there is a deficit of serotonin is tends to have an impulse to eat foods which help secrete this substance and normalize the lack", clarifies the Paideia integrative psychotherapist. Among the variety of food we eat, some that it reset before our serotonin levels, are carbohydrates and sweets, that make us feel better.
This guideline is also closely related to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, i.e. when there are major hormonal changes in the woman's body. Why give to many women for taking chocolate, ice cream or cookies when they are Ovulating, and that is mostly females who more presents this trend.
Although not only sweet foods generate this kind of impulses, inclinations towards salt-rich products have also been (crisps, olives, cheese, pasta, pizza...). "It is normal that the"food craving"appears in people who are following a diet very restrictive, deficient in nutrients or where salt has been removed," adds Andrea Navarrete, sanitary psychotherapist. For precisely this reason healthy diets and controlled by experts are not in favour of eliminating any type of food in the diet, everything can be done if it is a control and moderation. "The problem is that if weather is that you do not eat food, the body end up claiming it and we will give it in the worst possible way: by binge", explained Navarrete.

Hypothesis to explain the 'food craving'

The main hypotheses that purport to explain the emergence of 'food craving' are:
  • Low levels of serotonin: when there is a deficit of this substance grows the desire of taking certain food that increase their levels in the body.
  • A restrictive dieting: body just demanding nutrients missing if they are not provided by the diet. It is the feeling of "forbidden food" that keeps you wanting to eat it more.
  • The needs of the Agency: if your body something missing, a nutrient or a vitamin, is logical that you "ask" eat that you need. So you tend to want foods that can provide you this micronutrient that you need.
  • Stress: found that when we have high levels of stress, we need energy, and wish to foods such as carbohydrates, which have the ability to deliver it more quickly. It tends to produce a vicious circle that consists of that anxiety pushes to eat compulsively, what makes us feel guilty and that we eat again to placate this negative sentiment. "The pace of modern life does not facilitate us to five meals a day, you are going to be more gentle, to do exercise, in short, that we have time to dedicate to our personal lives", complains Navarrete.
  • Feel 'empty': there are people who feel empty and try to "fill" the gap with the food and the pleasure that you eat (both in the physical and psychological levels). They tend to be people who are not satisfied with their lives, which have a low self-esteem, relationship issues... and they need to make up for it somehow. In this situation, it is easy to attach to foods that produce pleasure, albeit momentary.
  • Society: live in a consumer society can facilitate the development of such conditions. We are exposed to numerous stimuli that invite to spend, buy, need and want certain items. "Promoting the resolution of immediate pleasure"pamper you","give away you it", but in a very superficial way." No power take care yourself really", says Navarrete. The food before was a necessity, whereas we are now supercharged, and at each step we find cafes, restaurants, shops... "In addition, in our country eating is almost as a way to socialize." Many social roles revolve around food", added the expert.

Symptoms of the 'food craving'

According to Navarrete, not be criminalized as a disease, the 'food craving' does not have a picture of symptoms clear, but according to what is explained in the preceding paragraphs, then you describe some signs that may indicate that certain limits have been transferred and he suffers or there is imminent risk of this disorder. These are:
  • Have an emotional state that is conducive to the pursuit of a particular food.
  • Consume impulsively and over a particular snack.
  • Present obesity or diabetes, due to the high intake of 'empty calories' (those that do not provide nutrients, but yes energy).
  • Have high blood pressure, especially if the food chosen is something very salty and is taken continuously.
  • Be sad, depressed, or sit empty. "It could arise guilt, problems of image, low self esteem, feeling of lack of control over your life, possibility of triggering an eating disorder that a latent psychological disorder from getting worse...", according to the sanitary psychotherapist Andrea Navarrete.
  • You can reach even to want to reduce virtually all other foods the diet just to eat only the meat, which is the only one that produces pleasure. Although this is already a most paradigmatic real and possible case, since live food it is very difficult.

Who could suffer 'food craving'?

The fact that is not a problem so well studied as other eating disorders, makes it difficult to define the characteristic profile of the person who suffers "food craving". "What Yes has been that women tend to present it more than men, for what that is related to the hormone issue." Although this does not mean that there are no men with this problem, but women have increased susceptibility to happen we, concludes Navarrete.

Tips to avoid the 'food craving'

Although it depends a lot of the factors and causes that is associated with this problem, to General, to avoid the 'food craving' our health expert psychotherapist, Andrea Navarrete, he offers some tips:
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle and make five meals a day (if we skip an intake, we arrive at the following with more hunger and anxiety and desiring to take carbohydrates, since levels of glucose are low ebb).
  • Establish a plan of individual feeding and scheduled by an expert, based on your tastes and preferences, which helps to adopt a routine. This plan must include or promote the consumption of foods (vegetables, nuts, oily fish), tryptophan that will regulate serotonin levels.
  • Reduce or eliminate the consumption of foods that put you nervous - caffeine, carbohydrates, stimulants...- or that predispose you to having more anxiety.
  • For avoid "attacks on the fridge" is a good thing to have on hand healthy snacks (fruit, whole grains, foods rich in fiber...) that you filled, you feed and entertain you. "We must educate in good nutrition, more time to take care of ourselves and, in general, have a healthier lifestyle. "This is what we will give pleasure to long-term and not based on immediate pleasures", suggests the psychotherapist.
  • Exercise is very important as a way to release stress and energy that we have accumulated. To exercise we release endorphins which lead us to a pleasant mood, the brain relaxes and keeps busy thinking about the activity carried out, thus enabling us to enjoy and not think what we stressed.
  • The psychological aspect of the treatment to solve this food disorder is based on managing anxiety and address psychological discomfort that is leading us to the "food craving". It may be beneficial to apply techniques of relaxation and meditation. If the symptoms continue, you should consult a specialist because it is possible to suffer a deficit of any vitamin, mineral or some other nutrient. "It may be a notice of our body. " Not be ruled out that that desire may be due to a lack, a deficit or a hormonal problem", explained Navarrete, and adds that "therapists we always say that if something happens in us is for a reason. It's the way you need the body to alert you that something is wrong, physically or emotionally, as if it were a sign of warning or alarm".
  • It entertainment is also very useful as a way to escape from these behaviors "is very good to find some activity that produces you pleasure: practice relaxation, stroll, take a shower, sewing, draw... each must find their own ways and find things that keep him busy and unconcerned", suggests Andrea.
  • Not to ignore the problem. Although the "food craving" is something that we all have experienced and is considered normal - even necessary-, taken to the extreme can cause social isolation or serious health problems. It is a new disorder, recent addition, which does not have many references and studies. However, it is known how beautiful with different pathologies that are serious - anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety..., by what might be dangerous.

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Health and Wellness

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