Healthy Byte: Menstrual Cycle Fueled Cravings

NOTE: It took me a very long time to figure out why once I month I became completely reckless in my eating. Ever since I noticed the pattern of euphoric binge eating in line with my cycle, I have been able to temper it because I know what it is and have found substitutes to temper the cravings. Sometimes simply being aware is enough.

Image result for food cravings before period

 

Food cravings in the week or two preceding your menstrual period are common for many women, but could be getting in the way of reaching your desired weight or eating in a healthy manner. Whether you crave chocolate, potato chips or baked goods, identifying the cause of your cravings at that time of the month can help you control them so you stick to your healthy diet throughout your menstrual cycle.

Blood Sugar Issues

A fluctuation in blood sugar levels is a common cause of cravings and compulsive overeating, according to licensed nutritionist Darlene Kvist. Willpower is not enough to control your food cravings if the cause is physiological. Eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet and eating fewer processed foods can help you stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent cravings from occurring before your next menstrual period. Trade your usual breakfast of corn flakes, milk, sugar and orange juice for a hearty bowl of steel-cut oats mixed with raspberries and plain yogurt. Base your lunch and dinner on blood-sugar-stabilizing non-starchy vegetables; protein from chicken, fish or nuts; and healthy fats from avocado or olive oil.

Magnesium Deficiency

If you often crave chocolate before your period, you may have a magnesium deficiency, although more hard evidence is still needed to support this theory. Chocolate is one of the richest food sources of magnesium, a hard-to-get mineral many American women are lacking. If chocolate is your most common craving, opt for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa to keep your sugar intake low. Discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking a magnesium supplement for a few weeks to see if it helps you better control your cravings.

Low Serotonin

Cravings at any time of the month can result from low serotonin levels, according to Julia Ross, a pioneer in the field of nutritional psychotherapy. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter your body produces from certain amino acids to help you feel relaxed. If you are deficient in these amino acids and cannot produce enough serotonin, you may experience strong carbohydrate cravings, which may translate into eating potato chips, French fries, bread, cookies or soft drinks. Although carbohydrates can temporarily elevate your serotonin levels and help you feel better during your pre-menstrual period, eating more carbohydrates to elevate your mood creates a vicious cycle of cravings. Eat foods rich in tryptophan, found mainly in animal protein as well as soy protein, to boost your serotonin.

Healthier Alternatives

If none of these techniques works, your cravings may simply be the result of the normal hormonal fluctuations that occur during your menstrual cycle. Try to find healthier alternatives to satisfy your cravings without getting off track with your diet. For example, try a sugar-free smoothie with fresh fruit and plain yogurt, a few pieces of fruit with nuts or flavorful cheese. Healthy fats from a salad of avocado and tomato drizzled with olive oil or raw vegetables dipped in a homemade mayonnaise or guacamole can also help decrease your cravings.

Originally Posted HERE

Additional Info HERE

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Healthy Byte: Most Addictive Foods

Pizza, French fries and ice cream may be the kinds of foods many of us love to indulge in after a night of drinking. But recent research suggest we can actually have benders on these foods all by themselves, and it may even be a sign of an addiction.

Researchers have wondered whether we can become addicted to food for more than a century. There have been reports of people losing control over how much they eat, and experiencing withdrawal when they are cut off, just like with drug and alcohol addiction. By now, many agree that food addiction can be a real problem for at least some types of foods.

For the first time, a team of researchers looked at exactly which types of foods could be the most addictive. They asked a group of 120 undergraduates at the University of Michigan, and another group of nearly 400 adults, about 35 different types of food — from pizza to broccoli — and whether they think they could have problems controlling how much they ate of each one. Eighteen of the items were processed foods, meaning they contained added sugars and fats.

Topping the list were pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream, French fries, cake and soda, all considered processed foods. They were followed by cheese and bacon — both unprocessed fo

Pizza, French fries and ice cream may be the kinds of foods many of us love to indulge in after a night of drinking. But research earlier this year suggests we can actually have benders on these foods all by themselves, and it may even be a sign of an addiction.

Researchers have wondered whether we can become addicted to food for more than a century. There have been reports of people losing control over how much they eat, and experiencing withdrawal when they are cut off, just like with drug and alcohol addiction. By now, many agree that food addiction can be a real problem for at least some types of foods.

For the first time, a team of researchers looked at exactly which types of foods could be the most addictive. They asked a group of 120 undergraduates at the University of Michigan, and another group of nearly 400 adults, about 35 different types of food — from pizza to broccoli — and whether they think they could have problems controlling how much they ate of each one. Eighteen of the items were processed foods, meaning they contained added sugars and fats.

Topping the list were pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream, French fries, cake and soda, all considered processed foods. They were followed by cheese and bacon — both unprocessed foods, but high in fat and salt.

Step away from the burger: Why a ‘Western’ diet is bad for your health

Fruits and vegetables (strawberries, carrots and broccoli, for example) were at the bottom of the list.

“In a similar manner that drugs are processed to increase their addictive potential, this study provides insight that highly processed foods may be intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugar,” said Erica Schulte, graduate student of psychology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, which was published in February in PLOS One.

The researchers found that the most problematic foods tended to be those with a high glycemic load, meaning they contained a lot of sugar and caused a spike in blood sugar. The authors wrote that these qualities could make foods more difficult to stop eating in a similar way as drugs that are highly concentrated and rapidly absorbed into the body are more addictive.

The researchers also found that, among the adults in their study, those with a high BMI and those who were at risk of having any kind of food addiction were most likely to have difficulty controlling themselves around a particular food item.

The researchers assessed food addiction risk using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which was developed by the study’s lead author, Ashley N. Gearhardt. (You can test your risk of having a food addiction by taking a short version of this survey.)

Although not all foods have the potential to be addictive, “it is critical to understand which ones do,” said Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan University, who was not involved in the current study.

“We are all pressed for time, and food is becoming more and more available,” but we need to think about what we are grabbing on the go, Robinson said. Although a handful of almonds and a milkshake might have the same number of calories, they will have a different effects on your brain and your reward system, and you will be much more likely to go back to get more of the milkshake, he added.

Related: Americans are cutting calories, but far from eating healthy

Many of the symptoms of food addiction look like drug addiction, including that people need more and more of the food item to get the same effect. They also accept negative consequences to obtain it and feel the anxiety or agitation of withdrawal when they can’t have it. Although food withdrawal is not as intense as heroin withdrawal, neither is cocaine withdrawal. “It varies by the drug,” Robinson said.

Just like any addiction, the first step to recovery is to acknowledge there is a problem, Robinson said. “I think in the majority of cases when we have a problem with a substance, whether it’s a food or drug…we will ignore it,” he said.

Robinson suggests avoiding foods if you have trouble controlling how much of them you eat. “We are not in a situation where we will have dietary deficiencies (and) whenever possible we should be aiming to cook foods for ourselves,” he said.

ods, but high in fat and salt.

Fruits and vegetables (strawberries, carrots and broccoli, for example) were at the bottom of the list.

“In a similar manner that drugs are processed to increase their addictive potential, this study provides insight that highly processed foods may be intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugar,” said Erica Schulte, graduate student of psychology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, which was published in February in PLOS One.

The researchers found that the most problematic foods tended to be those with a high glycemic load, meaning they contained a lot of sugar and caused a spike in blood sugar. The authors wrote that these qualities could make foods more difficult to stop eating in a similar way as drugs that are highly concentrated and rapidly absorbed into the body are more addictive.

The researchers also found that, among the adults in their study, those with a high BMI and those who were at risk of having any kind of food addiction were most likely to have difficulty controlling themselves around a particular food item.

The researchers assessed food addiction risk using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which was developed by the study’s lead author, Ashley N. Gearhardt. (You can test your risk of having a food addiction by taking a short version of this survey.)

Although not all foods have the potential to be addictive, “it is critical to understand which ones do,” said Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan University, who was not involved in the current study.

“We are all pressed for time, and food is becoming more and more available,” but we need to think about what we are grabbing on the go, Robinson said. Although a handful of almonds and a milkshake might have the same number of calories, they will have a different effects on your brain and your reward system, and you will be much more likely to go back to get more of the milkshake, he added.

Many of the symptoms of food addiction look like drug addiction, including that people need more and more of the food item to get the same effect. They also accept negative consequences to obtain it and feel the anxiety or agitation of withdrawal when they can’t have it. Although food withdrawal is not as intense as heroin withdrawal, neither is cocaine withdrawal. “It varies by the drug,” Robinson said.

Just like any addiction, the first step to recovery is to acknowledge there is a problem, Robinson said. “I think in the majority of cases when we have a problem with a substance, whether it’s a food or drug…we will ignore it,” he said.

Robinson suggests avoiding foods if you have trouble controlling how much of them you eat. “We are not in a situation where we will have dietary deficiencies (and) whenever possible we should be aiming to cook foods for ourselves,” he said.

Yale Food Addiction Scale

1.     Pizza

2.     Chocolate

3.     Chips

4.     Cookie

5.     Ice Cream

6.     French Fries

7.     Cheeseburger

8.     Non-Diet Soda

9.     Cake

10.  Cheese

11.  Bacon

12.  Fried Chicken

13.  Rolls

14.  Buttered Popcorn

15.  Cereal

16.  Gummies

17.  Steak

18.  Muffins

19.  Nuts

20.  Eggs

21.  Chicken Breast

22.  Pretzels

23.  Plain Crackers

24.  Water

25.  Granola Bar

26.  Strawberries

27.  Corn (without butter or salt)

28.  Salmon

29.  Banana

30.  Broccoli

31.  Plain Brown Rice

32.  Apple

33.  Beans

34.  Carrots

35.  Cucumbers

Originally Posted HERE & HERE

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