When it comes to healthy eating, 'carbs' are often made out to be the enemy. However, blindly cutting all carbs from your diet is not going to benefit you. This is because not all carbs are bad for you. Healthy carbohydrates can greatly keep up our energy levels and regulate blood sugar levels. On the other hand, unhealthy or simple carbs are associated with a variety of health problems. Unfortunately, many of us are so used to eating processed carbs that we find it difficult to stop. We may even find ourselves longing for them more and more frequently. Wondering how to deal with this problem? Allow us to give you some context first:
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Why Do We Crave Carbs?
Food cravings are generally influenced by several factors including diet, stress, underlying health conditions, environment, etc. Carb cravings are no different. Refined carbs cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and may temporarily make you feel more energised and even happier. Thus, we might find ourselves wanting them again and again. But this effect is short-lived since these processed carbs cannot provide proper sustenance. If you want to understand more about this topic, celebrity nutritionist Rashi Chowdhury recently provided 3 possible explanations for these cravings. She discussed how low protein intake, nitrogen deficiency and poor sleep quality may trigger carb cravings. Find out more here.
Why Should You Address Carb Cravings?
As mentioned earlier, these cravings are usually for simple carbs that can harm our health. Consumption of processed carbs may increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease as well as other conditions. Since carb cravings are also associated with stress and hormonal balance, they affect your overall well-being. Hence, it's in your best interest to try overcoming these cravings.
Also Read: Feeling Hungry All The Time? Here's What To Do About Food Cravings
How To Beat Carb Cravings?
1. Add high-fibre foods to your diet
Foods rich in fibre and healthy carbs can help give you a sustained energy boost. They also promote satiety, making you feel for longer. Thus, they are more wholesome than refined carbs and can help combat the effects of eating too much processed food. Hence, you must consider adding whole grains, legumes, fresh veggies and fruits to your diet.
2. Increase intake of lean protein
Protein is also known to help curb appetite and keep you satiated. It is recommended to opt for lean protein - and there are options for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. Sources include beans, lentils, low-fat dairy products, tofu, egg whites, skinless chicken and turkey, certain types of fish, etc.
3. Consume healthy fats
Beating cravings is also about having a more balanced diet in general. Just as we should think twice before dismissing all carbs as "bad," we should reconsider our perspective on fats as well. Make it a point to add healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats rather than saturated or trans fats in your diet. Avocados, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and many other common foods can provide you with healthy fats.
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4. Avoid refined sugar and processed carbs as far as possible
Cravings often function in the form of a viscous cycle - you give in to them once, and you find them becoming stronger the next time. Hence, it can help to remove processed foods completely from your diet - at least for a short while. Also, avoid using ingredients with simple carbs and refined sugar to make other foods. When you carefully and purposely choose healthier options, you can help get rid of the cravings for the long term.
5. Make necessary lifestyle changes
Carb cravings may also be triggered as a result of insufficient/ disturbed sleep and/ or high stress levels. Hence, pay attention to these aspects too, apart from your diet. Ensure you get quality sleep, take steps to reduce stress and practise mindful eating. Physical exercise can also indirectly help you fight against those cravings.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.