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If you crave sweets after a meal, you’re not stuck in some kind of rut, but reacting to human biology. Perhaps understanding this process will help you be less hard on yourself about your cravings. And perhaps it will help you better manage your appetite.
According to Dr. Louis J. Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program (boy, do I hate the name of that program) at New York-Presbyterian/Weill
Cornell Medical Center, “The craving for sweets is primarily biological. However, the sweet that is preferred seems to be primarily a learned behavior, a function of one’s upbringing.” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10/29/13).
Apparently, cravings, for example for specific nutrients such as carbohydrates, come from our bodies’ need to “alter our neurotransmitters in conditions like eating disorders and obesity.” Remember that it’s carbs that trigger a boost of dopamine—the feel-good neurotransmitter—in our brains. Here are some other interesting research conclusions from the article:
So, in sum, if you crave sweets after a meal, you’re not crazy, especially if that meal contained lots of protein. If the craving feels strong, it’s because it’s not all in your head, but, in part, biologically based. That said, even physical urges can be resisted. After all, you don’t sexually attack everyone you’re physically attracted to and most of us, barring certain medical issues, can control our bladders. Urges, even for sweets, are only a small part of our biology. Remember that you can use the rest of your brain to decide what to do with a craving. This may be a new concept for some of you, that is, to know that you don’t have to act on every appetite urge that comes along.
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