Got Food Cravings?
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
"How do I control my food cravings?" This may be a question you have asked yourself many times or you may have heard others ask a very similar question. It is very common for many individuals to struggle with food cravings. They find themselves "being good" nutritionally throughout the day, and then, all heck breaks loose as the day progresses and the food cravings seem to be, once again, at an all-time high. This leads to binge eating and overeating sessions (which then leads to weight and body fat gain). When individuals have food cravings, they tend to crave foods such as a grilled chicken breast with a sweet potato and a side of vegetables, right? Of course not!! What type of foods are individuals craving when they have these food cravings? It may be foods like pizza, burgers, French fries, salty foods, sweets/sugars/candy, etc. Is there any hope for individuals that have such intense food cravings? Can these food cravings be minimized or even stopped completely? Absolutely.
We have to first look at one's nutrition, on a daily basis, in order to understand where these food cravings may be coming from. Typically, these food cravings arise due to an improper fueling frequency, improper fueling timing and/or improper balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat. In turn, this can create hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances within the body which can then lead to food cravings. Therefore, step 1 is to get our everyday nutrition, spot-on. How do we do this? It is going to start with our fueling frequency and fueling timing. Each and every day, let's start to fuel the body right away upon awakening and then every 2.5-3.5 hours thereafter, all throughout the day. This is going to be absolutely critical for one's success when it comes to diminishing food cravings. When individuals start to skip meals and/or have too much time transpire in between meals and snacks, this can definitely lead to increased and excessive hunger which can then lead to food cravings and overeating.
Now that we have the fueling frequency and fueling timing dialed in, step 2 is the macronutrient balance at every meal and snack. The key macronutrient that is going to help reduce food cravings is what? If you guessed carbohydrate, you are right on the money. And now you wonder why every diet is a complete train wreck, huh? These ridiculous food fads and diets are calling for a significant reduction and/or elimination of carbohydrates. And that’s why every food fad and diet will lead the individual down a dark, lonely 1-way road to nowhere.
We first have to understand a bit about human physiology in order to get to the root cause of these food cravings. Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter/brain chemical that affects mood and appetite. Things such as our sleep (in terms of quality and quantity) and our daily nutrition affect serotonin levels. When serotonin levels are low, this can lead to increased food cravings as well as changes in one's mood. The amino acid, tryptophan, plays a very important role in serotonin. When tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is converted into serotonin and this is exactly what we want. This is what leads to elevated mood, elevated energy levels, the feeling of satiation in terms of appetite, etc. So how do we ensure serotonin is being produced?
Well, as mentioned above, individuals are drawn towards food fads and diets. And the large majority of these food fads and diets call for high protein and very little to no complex carbohydrate. Herein lies the problem. When we consume a protein-rich meal, tryptophan cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, serotonin levels are going to remain low and this can lead to food cravings. But, when we eat complex carbohydrates, now we are on the right path for the tryptophan-serotonin conversion to occur. Complex carbohydrates are going to be the key in this process. Think of complex carbohydrates (when combined with the right amount of protein & fat) as the key that unlocks the door to success. When we consume the right balance of complex carbohydrates + protein + fat, tryptophan can then cross the blood-brain barrier and, as mentioned by Judith J. Wurtman PhD, will be immediately converted into serotonin. And this is just another great example as to why fueling your body using the TeamKattouf® Nutrition principles are going to be such a big key to your success in terms of diminishing, if not completely eliminating out, your food cravings. When individuals follow TeamKattouf® Nutrition, their fueling frequency and fueling timing will be right on the money. In addition, every meal and snack will be properly balanced with the right amount of carbohydrate-protein-fat. And as a result, food cravings will be greatly diminished.
Now that we have our everyday nutrition locked down and dialed in, there are some other things we can do as well to help crush our food cravings. And much of this simply revolves around changing our habits. Once we change our habits and we start to implement the proper fueling frequency, timing and C-P-F ratios, we are setting ourselves up for amazing success. As you start to follow the steps above, you will find yourself not craving the foods like you have in the past.
Let's say that you have created a habit of snacking on a candy bar when these food cravings hit. All we need to do is replace this candy bar with another source of fuel and BAM! A new habit has formed. This is where the K II Kookie Bar® and K II Brownie Bar® will help you to create a new habit. The Go-To Energy Bar® not only tastes great but has the perfect balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat. By replacing the candy bar with the K II Kookie/Brownie Bar®, you be creating a new habit and you will also fuel your body properly. And this will help lead to a successful reduction in your food cravings. If you are ready to crush those food cravings, simply follow the steps above and you will be absolutely amazed at how your body starts to respond. We look forward to hearing about your success story and how you were able to Crush Those Food Cravings.
WORKOUT SMART, EAT RIGHT, GET RESULTS®!
Rick Kattouf II, O.D. is a 2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert and has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite® Trainers of the Year. Rick is a Sports Nutrition Specialist, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Master Personal Trainer & Triathlon Coach. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune, National Examiner, Ironman.com, Livestrong.com, Runner’s World, Bicycling Magazine, Men’s Health UK, FIGHT! Magazine, Florida Cycling Magazine and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Inc, CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Nutrition LLC, CEO/Founder of Virtual Gym LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf® Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury® Nutrition Supplement, 5-Round Fury Fitness® workout app, Creator of Coach2CEO, Creator of Fuel Keeper®, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Dr. Rick has personally coached individuals in 30+ states and 10+ countries.