I’m a nutritionist – here’s how to beat your snack cravings to blast belly fat | The Sun

CRAVINGS are completely normal and everyone should indulge in them from time to time.

But experts say that your additional bags of crisps or chocolate bar could be causing you to gain weight over the long term.

Snacks often fill a gap between meals, but many people who are trying to lose weight often cut them out all together.

This can lead to dips in blood sugar levels, increased hunger and appetite when you do finally get round to eating.

Nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt at Lifesum previously told The Sun that most of the time people crave calorie-dense foods rich in sugar, saturated fat and sodium, which are often not rich in nutrients.

Signe explains that longing for a certain treat can happen for a number of reasons, including if you have too many restrictions on your diet.

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She also says that eating too little during the day, unbalanced meals and a lack of sleep can all lead to cravings.

It's hard to manage these – but by doing so, you are bound to feel better.

Many people use food as a reward, that chocolate bar at the end of the day is a treat for how hard you have worked or that glass of wine is a reward for a stressful day with the in laws.

Psychotherapist Audrey Stephenson explained that stopping this behaviour might help with your cravings.

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“Sugar gives a dopamine hit, so even if we are not physiologically addicted to sugar, we can certainly be psychologically addicted to the way we perceive it makes us ‘feel’ – the sense of comfort or happiness it evokes," Stephenson told The Telegraph.

In the end, they said many cravings come down to the feeling you experienced when you ate something.

Perhaps it reminds you of that happy place, or gives you a sense of achievement.

It's your perception of food that needs to change and once you shift this thinking – you will be able to banish those cravings, therapist Marisa Peer says.

She explained that by thinking about what makes up your food – you will be able to 'reprogramme' yourself.

Marisa said that essentially, sweets are full of boiled-up cow's bones, and muffins are cakes which people eat for breakfast – a concept she branded as 'ridiculous'.

How can I prevent cravings?

CRAVINGS are a normal feeling but they can get in the way of you having a healthy, balanced diet.

Signe said that in order to prevent your cravings you should:

  • include nutritious foods in your diet, rather than exclude certain foods
  • eat an adequate amount of energy during the day
  • eat balanced meals rich in fibre, protein and unsaturated fat 
  • have an adequate amount of sleep 

"We need to get our brains to recognise these foods for what they are and then we stop seeing them as a reward," she added.

When coaching patients, she tells them to eat slowly so that your body can recognise when it's full.

If you're struggling she advises you to squeeze your palm into a fist, as to remind you of the size of your stomach.

Lara Hughes, nutritionist and founder of Wholistic Health by Lara said your cravings – such as a nice glass of wine – could be down to blood sugar dysregulation.

Instead of going straight for the bottle, Lara says you should take a moment to find a nutritious snack.

This can be something like a whole oatcake or apple dipped in nut butter, or a few squares of dark chocolate (which also promotes feel good hormones, without the need of alcohol) with a handful of unsalted nuts. Then see if you still want that glass of red…


When it comes to cravings for caffeine, Lara said this might be down to dehydration.

"Water is key for all bodily processes – including metabolism and energy.

"When we’re dehydrated, we can often feel tired and sluggish – triggering cravings for coffee."

She advises that next time you’re contemplating a fourth cup of coffee, opt for a few glasses of water (aim for 2 Litres daily), and see if you still feel quite so rubbish.

Most people reach for the coffee or tea because they feel sluggish – which can also be down to a lack of sleep.

Many studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep have a high level of hunger hormones – which make us more prone to snacking.

It's because of this that you're then more likely to reach for high sugar foods.

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So if you want to banish cravings, it's time to pay attention to your snooze.

Successfully cutting down on your snacks is likely to put you in a calorie deficit which is key to weight loss.

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