As seen on She Said

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The craving merry-go-round can send you around the twist and put your diet into a spin – and be hard to get off.

Leading gut guru and naturopath, Michèle Wolff, says certain foods can create a ‘craving chain reaction’ that can leads to diet derailment and digestive problems.

Author of the new book, Digestive Solutions, Ms Wolf says there are various reasons for food cravings but understanding the chain reaction can help you beat the cycle.

“Food cravings can be caused by addiction, allergy, a dietary imbalance or an emotional craving, but certain foods will drive the next step in the cycle,” Ms Wolff said.

“If your diet has too much of one type of food and ignores the balance of what your body needs (protein, fat, carbohydrate, vegetables, salad and fruit) it will catch up with you and cause cravings.

“Cravings often arise from a dietary imbalance. For example, a craving for sweets and white flour can be caused by eating a diet too high in protein and fat.

“Low blood sugar can also cause sugar cravings and this can be rectified by eating savoury foods every few hours hours with adequate protein, fat and healthy carbohydrates.”

Ms Wolff says low-fat, low-carb diets are major culprits in the craving chain reaction.

“Fat doesn’t make you fat. It’s the low fat diets that cause you to crave carbohydrates, which in turn raises insulin that are more likely to see you piling on the pounds.

“Fat may have more calories than carbohydrates but it makes you feel fuller for longer, and if you don’t have fat you will crave carbohydrates.

“People on low-fat diets crave food and eat more carbohydrates. Fat is necessary for the uptake of fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D, K and carotenoids. Polyunsaturated fats are essential for reducing inflammation, particularly in the gut.

“Remember that carbohydrate is stored as fat if you eat too much of it. And carbohydrates stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar. When this is continually repeated eventually your pancreas will burn out and you are at risk of diabetes.”

CUT YOUR CRAVINGS

Ms Wolff says there are various reasons you can get cravings which can be an addiction, allergy, a dietary imbalance or an emotional craving. Here’s how to beat your cravings.

Sweets:

A craving for sweets and white flour can be caused by eating a diet too high in protein and fat.

Sign of protein deficiency where more beans, lentils, fish, eggs or meat are required.

Fungal infection as bad bugs in the intestines love to feed off sugar.

Low blood sugar can also cause sugar cravings. Fix it by eating savoury foods every 3-4 hours with adequate protein, fat and healthy carbohydrates.

If you crave sugar, then have more whole grains and less salt and dairy.

Salads/Fruits (Acid/alkaline foods)

Although alkalising foods like salads and fruit are generally positive, too much will cause you to want more acidic foods to balance your body. Without protein and grains (which are healthy acidic foods if eaten in balance), the craving for acid forming sweets will be high.

Coffee

If you crave coffee, have more vegetables and salads and less meat and sugar. You can use chicory or dandelion to replace the taste, or have green tea for less caffeine.

Milk

If you crave milk, have more leafy greens, brown rice and fish and avoid sugar and fruit. You can use nut milks instead. Just make sure you keep up other calcium foods like tahini, boned fish, almonds and leafy greens.

Alcohol

If you crave alcohol, have more healthy carbohydrates and bitter greens and eat less fat, salt and animal protein.

Salad & Fruit Cravings (acid/alkaline foods)

Although alkalising foods like salads and fruit are generally positive, too much will cause you to want more acidic foods to balance your body. Without protein and grains (which are healthy acidic foods if eaten in balance), the craving for acid forming sweets will be high.

Next time you crave a certain food, give it some serious thought and consider what changes you can make in the rest of your diet to help beat that craving and improve your overall health.

Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions www.detoxspecialist.com.au. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au RRP $39.95

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