How to Control Cravings and Compulsive Eating

April 13, 2019

Do you need a solution that you can put into practice to control your cravings? Lack of control over cravings is frustrating and painful. Listen in today as we explain the source of cravings in order to better control them. We're sharing new tips beyond the ideas you've heard for years (that don't work anyways). 

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KARA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today's show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We have a great show today that I believe will touch the hearts of so many of you listeners. So this morning we are going to be talking about how to control cravings. Do you need a solution that you can put into practice to control your cravings?

A lack of control over your cravings is so frustrating. It can actually be really painful for many people. How often have you said to yourself, “I know I could just lose that weight if I could only control my cravings?” Because we know weight loss is not just about increasing metabolism. We also really need to control cravings. I know some people pray for help to control their cravings. Are you one of the many people who, for example, give up sugar every year for lent? And Easter comes around and then you're eating all the jelly beans and you can't stop, even though you know jelly beans have high fructose corn syrup and food dyes and you know they're not good for your health. In spite of that knowledge, you justify your jelly bean behavior because you say to yourself, “Well, it's Easter. I’m supposed to have jelly beans.” And you know, probably as a kid, jelly beans were in your Easter basket. I know they were in mine. So it brings back those happy times and memories. But your cravings might just be driving you crazy. Maybe you smell homemade chocolate chip cookies and you eat one, and you can't stop eating the entire batch of cookies. Or maybe you go to the movie theater and you just can't even relax and enjoy the movie until you have that big container of popcorn and a box of dots and maybe a soda in hand.

SHELBY: Yeah, you smell all of those foods that are in every corner going out. You know, whether you're at the mall or the movie theater, you know, all sorts of smells are tempting. Yeah.

KARA: And some of those do bring back, you know, childhood memories and they're almost like comfort foods for people.

SHELBY: Exactly. Exactly. And actually that reminds me, I have another client, class participant that took our Weight and Wellness series and you know, she said that when she reads any of those magazines that have been around forever, you know, I think of things like Real Simple or Family Circle or Women's Day. She sees those pictures of recipes or those desserts that are on the cover in those glossy photos and it sets off cravings for sugar like, “Maybe I need to make that”. Some people are addicted to cooking shows. In fact, Kara I thought it was so interesting, Michael Pollan at his talk at the University of Minnesota last spring, he said that people today are spending more time watching someone else cook on TV than actually cooking for themselves, which I think is…

KARA: That's really interesting.

SHELBY: It is very interesting to see the rise of the interest in watching these cooking competitions. So it's trying to make that perfect dessert or mastering that new recipe to get rave reviews from their family. And oftentimes it's the, the really colorful layers of chocolate cakes or fruit desserts that really catch people's attention.

KARA: Right, right. Well, now that we've introduced our topic, and hopefully we have your attention, we probably should introduce ourselves. My name is Kara Carper. I'm a licensed nutritionist. I have a master's degree in holistic health, and I'm here with Shelby Hummel today.

SHELBY: Yeah, good morning to our listeners. I'm Shelby Hummel. I'm also a licensed nutritionist. I have a master's degree in clinical nutrition. And just like Kara, we, you know, are very passionate about real food nutrition. But one of the things besides co-hosting the radio show, one of the things that I continue to do is work with clients one on one. So I hear a lot of people's struggles with cravings. I also teach a lot of nutrition classes for corporate businesses, for community education groups. One of the things that I love is when I go into a class and people say, “Oh, I saw what you were having for dinner”. And I'm thinking, ”Hmm, how did that?… and then I remember our social media team is actually posting pictures of meals and snacks from some of our nutritionists. Everyone wants to know what a nutritionist is actually eating.

KARA: I know. And we don't think it's really that exciting, but I mean I think people are interested. Like, “How can I put together a meal that's balanced”? We always talk about balanced meals. We'll talk more about that today. People want to see visuals. I think that's really helpful.

SHELBY: They do. It's so interesting. They love to hear that we're real people.

KARA: They do. They do. And it might surprise you to learn that, yes, nutritionists and dietitians… we've all had our fair share of cravings and struggles. You know, whether it's for sugar or bread or pasta. We also know that when you understand the source of your cravings and you get to the root cause, then you can really start making changes to control those cravings. What do I mean by design your life and make these changes to control your cravings?

Controlling Caffeine Cravings

SHELBY: Yeah. Well one of the cravings that you didn't mention, Kara, that is kind of near and dear to me is craving caffeine. I know that I have not been focusing on eating enough food, especially enough protein, when I find myself craving more caffeine. And I'm not talking like a mocha or a latte. But I just find myself, you know, maybe having another cup of caffeinated tea or maybe making another thing of coffee. But one woman's understanding of her chocolate cravings… Actually this particular gal was in our Nutrition for Weight Loss class. and she shared with the group that when she forgets to take her magnesium glycinate, her intense chocolate cravings return the next day. Now I thought that was so interesting because in our Nutrition for Weight Loss class, we teach you the basics of biochemistry to help your… to help you really make the lifelong habit changes. Now, our clients learn that when you are deficient in certain minerals, especially the mineral magnesium, you could have some body signs of those mineral deficiencies.

KARA: Yeah. Talk about some of those body signs.

SHELBY: So for magnesium, not only would you have muscle cramps or trouble sleeping, if you're deficient in magnesium, you most likely will have those chocolate cravings. Now to control chocolate cravings, most people need to take 400 to 600 milligrams of a good quality magnesium glycinate supplement.

KARA: So maybe we could talk a little bit about, you know, can't we just get that from food? I bet there are listeners right now thinking, “I really want to get my magnesium from food”. And their magnesium is certainly is going to be found in some foods. And some example foods would be nuts, leafy greens, meat, particularly more of the grass fed or pasture-raised meat.

SHELBY: Yep. One of my favorites is avocados. You know, that's a really great source of magnesium. But we have to step back and say, “Well what are some things that are preventing us from getting enough of that magnesium: Enough of those minerals from our food. And first thing that I think of is people are just not eating enough vegetables.

KARA: Sure. So when we talk about like the vegetables: the avocados, the leafy greens.

SHELBY: That would be one thing. The other thing that you know, we kind of look at is in general, most of us are eating poor quality foods or have. Not those of us that are eating the Nutritional Weight and Wellness way. But many people, their long-term poor eating habits have set the stage where they're in such a deficit that yes, eating more good quality foods is going to help, but to help with that symptom relief they may need to supplement with magnesium.

KARA: That's a great point. It's more of a therapeutic dose to really correct the deficiency. And it is true that about three out of four Americans are known to be deficient in the mineral magnesium. One other thing I just want to mention that can certainly lead to this magnesium deficiency is that sugar and even high carbohydrate foods that are turning into a lot of sugar in the body, can actually pull minerals out or leech minerals.

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Eliminating Sugar Cravings

SHELBY: So, Kara, I think we need to say that again because sugar… when you are eating sugar, that acts as a negative nutrient, meaning that when you eat sugar, that sugar… to be processed by the body, it actually leeches or pulls minerals from our bones, from our muscles. And so even if you’re someone who is eating good quality foods and you still have those sugar cravings, that may be a sign that you need a little extra support.

KARA: Right. So yeah, we just kind of wanted to dive a little bit more into why somebody might need the four to 600 milligrams of magnesium per day. Another really interesting craving that I think there's a lot of confusion and some misconceptions about is when people crave things like chips or popcorn. And you typically hear them say, “Oh, you know, I crave all the salty, crunchy things”. For example, “I crave chips and popcorn”. In reality, if we really look at what is making up those foods like chips and popcorn, it's actually a sugar and a carbohydrate craving.

SHELBY: Yeah. And actually, Kara, that's one of the things that I think is interesting is if I ask people, you know, if you're craving salt, do you slice up a cucumber and put a little salt on there or, you know, would nuts satisfy? And most of the time people look at me like, “Shelby, you have never had the salt cravings like I have”. And so you know, try to help them understand that that's actually not a sugar or excuse me, that's not actually a salt craving. It's more of a sugar craving. But that's something, Kara, I think we want to talk about a little bit more when we come back from break. If you're just tuning in this morning, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. This morning we are discussing some simple solutions to help you control your cravings. Now as we're going in and coming back from break, Kara and I are going to share some craving solutions. So our first one is staying hydrated. Solution number one is staying hydrated throughout the day, which is one great way to reduce food cravings. We suggest drinking eight to 12 glasses of filtered water daily to eliminate thirst and to flush out those toxins will be right back.


KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. So I'm Kara Carper and I'm here with Shelby Hummel today and we're talking about how to control your cravings. And we're giving solutions. And before break Shelby mentioned that one solution was just a drink enough water just to avoid that dehydration. Solution number two is sleep, and really just making an effort to get that seven and a half to even nine hours of sleep as many nights as possible. It's another simple way for you to control those cravings. Research has found that sugar cravings increase when a person is short on sleep. If you have sleep problems, I really encourage you to make an appointment with any of our Nutritional Weight and Wellness nutritionists or dietitians. And you can get a personalized plan so that you can start getting sufficient sleep. And to do that, you can call our office: 651-699-3438 to set up an appointment either in person or you know, there are a lot of phone appointments available if you happen to live outside of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Minnesota area. And if you'd like to make your appointment online, you can do that as well. Just go to our website, to schedule the appointment.

Managing Cravings for Sugary and Salty Foods

SHELBY: Yeah, so Kara before we went to break, we were talking about some of the most common sugar cravings: the pastas, the breads, the chips, those sorts of things. But when people think about cravings for sugar, they tend to forget about the salt, whether that's pretzels or crackers or popcorn, things like that. And so, I often am asking people to describe when they're having their cravings. Are you consistently having cravings in the afternoon? Or kind of tying that back to sleep, are you craving those processed carbohydrates, those salty, crunchy things mid-morning, after a night of poor sleep? Maybe you were up with a small child or your dog got you up in the middle of the night. You know, those are all reasons why sleep can interfere with our health goals.

KARA: Great point. So really just taking a look at the big picture, like what are the factors that might be leading… what are the root causes that might be leading to these cravings that I'm having?

SHELBY: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so one of the things that we utilize in class and on the show here is helping people understand that all carbohydrates are going to break down into sugar in the body. So if we think about those processed carbohydrates, like the chips or the pretzels, the things people tend to think are more salty, crunchy cravings. Actually four chips breaks down into one teaspoon of sugar in the body. So because chips are a carbohydrate, we would look at the label and we would see how many carbohydrates are in a serving of chips. And then we would divide that by four. So for every four grams of carbohydrate, that breaks down into one teaspoon of sugar. So in this example of four chips, each chip is about one gram of carb. So we see that grabbing, you know, the small bag of chips at the checkout lane… that turns into about three and a half teaspoons of glucose or sugar in the body. So even though you may be thinking, “No, I'm wanting something that's salty, crunchy”, we still have to remember it as turning into sugar in the body.

KARA: Yeah. And so the underlying cause, or the underlying craving, I should say, it's a carbohydrate craving and those chips are turning into a lot of sugar in the body. So basically, I mean chips and pretzels and a lot of just those crunchy snacks that are in a bag, it's that combination of ingredients. They're high in carbohydrates turning into a lot of sugar. They're also usually high in bad fats.

SHELBY: Like what?

Identifying Unhealthy Processed Foods That Increase Cravings

KARA: So examples of, you know, when we say processed or bad fats, we're talking about things like vegetable oils. You might actually see that on the label: vegetable oil. It might give more specifics. It might be a soybean oil. It could be a canola oil. Sunflower oil. Those are all very processed, high heated oils that are damaged. And that combination of those types of oils with the high carb, high sugar, that's kind of the perfect storm to cause weight gain for people. And chips, frozen dinners, soy sauce, you know these are all just examples of things that contain an ingredient called MSG.

SHELBY: So not only the salt and the bad fats, but we're also looking at some of the food additives like MSG that are found in these processed carbohydrates.

KARA: Exactly. So there's just usually kind of a long list of unhealthy ingredients in the foods, like the frozen meals, the chips. And you're often going to see the high carb; you're going to see this MSG, the bad fats. You might be thinking, “Well MSG, how would that relate to… why would that increase my cravings”? In addition to, you know, side effects like causing headaches and migraines. And there's actually a really long list of things that people experience when they consume MSG. But MSG makes us want to eat more and more. You know, I always think about like you go to a Chinese restaurant… You almost just don't ever feel satiated. Part of that is, you know, a lot of the Chinese food will have MSG.

SHELBY: Right. Right. And actually one of the studies that I know we, we site in some of our classes is actually an MSG study related to animals. So in this particular case, they're looking at rats. And in the lab they're wanting to fatten up these rats. And so what they're doing is they're feeding them food pellets that have MSG in it. And they know that they're going to eat more, and store more of those calories as body fat. But what they also found is these animals eat more food in general because MSG blocks the release of leptin in the body. And leptin is one of those hormones that actually helps us control appetite. So when we look at MSG-kind of hijacks the brain and prevents the communication between our brain cells telling us, “Hey, you've had enough, or hey, I'm satisfied.”

KARA: I'm satisfied, I'm done eating. I feel full.

SHELBY: Yeah. So to control cravings, we encourage people to avoid MSG. Now when you're checking the food label for MSG, it may say something like monosodium glutamate, but I think that's kind of rare. In general, it's kind of hidden in some of these other terms. So another way to identify MSG would be to look for hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Actually that's often shortened as HVP. And so people don't really recognize that in general. But autolyzed yeast, glutamic acid or yeast extract… all of these indicate that MSG is in the product. Now people say to me, you know, because we are human, right?


Crunchy Alternatives to Craving-causing Foods

People say, “Well, what do you do when you want that texture, that crunch, you know, kind of a chip taste”? Well, I will actually roast up some thinly sliced fingerling potatoes. I know that I can get those crispy and crunchy. They're satisfying. But I know that smaller potatoes like the fingerling potatoes are going to be lower in carbohydrates. So I can eat a half of a cup of some roasted potatoes without spiking that blood sugar.

KARA: That's a good idea. I mean it's okay to put some salt on those and just have a moderate amount.

SHELBY: Yeah, exactly. Now the other thing that I would do is… I have a mandolin that I got for Christmas so I can thinly slice radishes. Or I love jicama. Or if I'm truly looking for that crispy, crunchy, that's what I'll do is eat raw vegetables. But yeah, so we want to talk a little bit more about why blood sugar is so important for cravings, but we got to go to our next break. So if you're just turning the radio dial, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Next week we have another Nutrition for Weight Loss program that is starting in our Mendota heights location. So if you are local to the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, mark your calendars starting April 25th. That's a Thursday. Our Nutrition for Weight Loss program will begin in Mendota Heights. If you are someone who is experiencing cravings, the Nutrition for Weight Loss series is actually our third solution to help you kick those cravings. Now if you live outside of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area or if you just want to do everything from the comfort of your own home, know that you can take our online Nutrition for Weight Loss program. We have two fabulous instructors: Melanie, she's a registered dietitian and she really does make class fun even though you're not in a classroom, you can tell she's very passionate about nutrition. Now our other nutrition educator is Nell. Nell lost 90 pounds over eight years ago and has maintained that weight loss. So she really is inspirational. People enjoy listening to her on the online series. If you have questions about cravings or weight loss, you can call (651) 699-3438 or you can go to to learn more. We'll be right back.


KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You're listening to Shelby and Kara talking about how to control those cravings. And I also just want to throw out the studio number for listeners. If you have a question; if you have a comment about cravings, you can call the studio at (651) 641-1071. And we're giving solutions at each break, how to control cravings.

Supplements That Help to Alleviate Cravings

And solution number four is considering taking some key supplements that are going to be really effective in controlling cravings. So I'm going to talk about each supplement. The first one is something called bifido bacteria. This is good bacteria. It's a probiotic. And we recommend taking two capsules of bifido bacteria or Bifido Balance before each meal. The second supplement, it's called L-glutamine. This is an amino acid that is really, really effective for controlling sugar and carbohydrate cravings. And we also recommend taking two capsules of L-glutamine before each meal. Now both of these supplements, what they're doing is they're supporting intestinal health or gut health as we say. So if somebody has poor gut health, they are much more likely to have more sugar and carbohydrate cravings. So we're just kind of working on healing and making the got more healthy so that we can decrease those cravings. The third supplement… it's something called Crave Control Plus, and we recommend taking two of these Crave Control capsules before each meal as well. So basically you're taking the Bifido, the L-glutamine and the Crave Control prior to each meal or three times a day.

SHELBY: Yup. So taking two Bifido, two L-glutamine and two of the Crave Control before each meal.

KARA: Right. That might sound like a lot of supplements. We usually recommend that people take, you know, the, the higher amount of supplements for three to four weeks.

SHELBY: Yeah. At least get that foundation. And I think for a lot of people who have been struggling with cravings, they're kind of thinking, “Well, I'll do anything to feel a little bit more in control”. And so I just wanted to, to share with listeners a little bit more about what's in that Crave Control Plus that makes it so beneficial. Now we know it's a blend of amino acids that support our brain. So it helps to support those neurotransmitters. But interestingly, the, Crave Control Plus actually has a lot of vitamin C, so you know, a nice amount of vitamin C to support antioxidants. And looking at some other things that are in the Crave Control, we see our mineral magnesium again. So we also see some brain support like the 5-HTP; a little bit of tyrosine and phenyalanine. So hey, that blend, it's a blended product, that Crave Control Plus. It has B6 as well. So it's just a really interesting supplement. Not something that people have likely taken before. Really supportive for brain health and cravings in particular.

KARA: Sure. And so those, those last three ingredients that you named were all amino acids. And those key amino acids: 5-HTP, basically five hydroxyl-tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine… Those are supporting neurotransmitter production. When people are low in certain neurotransmitters, like serotonin for example, they're going to have more sugar and carbohydrate cravings. So that's how the Crave Control is helping to support the brain chemistry to reduce those cravings. And all of those supplements that we just mentioned, they're available at our seven Nutritional Weight and Wellness locations. You can also go to and you can see the supplements on our website as well. And if you have questions about anything we just said, you know, you can call us in the studio, but you could also call our office: (651) 699-3438. The front desk staff is very knowledgeable about the supplements and there's usually a dietician or nutritionist on staff as well.

SHELBY: Now before we went to break, Kara we were talking about the cravings for sugar, some salty cravings. We had mentioned MSG. But really, when we get down to the most common concerns around controlling cravings, often times people think that they are the problem; that they're the only one who lacks willpower or lacks that control.

KARA: So you know, people have a very hard time with this and they feel self-defeated. Some comments that we would hear from clients are: “With cravings I'm just weak willed. I don't have control when I'm around cookies and brownies. I'm so bad”. Kind of like “I'm a bad person”. Here's another thing that we've heard. “I just have no idea why I crave sugar all the time. I can't help myself. I hate myself for it. I need to feel comforted and sugar is a comfort food for me, and cravings are ruling my life”. We hear that a lot. Don't we, Shelby? About how cravings really kind of taking over?

SHELBY: Yeah. Well, and it's interesting because people will say to us, you know, “Oh, my car drove me into the Starbucks or coffee shop, you know, drive through”. It's like it's not even a conscious thought for them. It's just kind of a detour in their day and people do feel like they're kind of white knuckling it through their cravings. And so like you had mentioned coming back from break… Now food is foundational, but using those three supplements: the bifido bacteria, the L-glutamine, and the Crave Control,that may sound like taking a lot of supplements, but it can really help to kick those cravings so you have more time to heal. Now, there are a lot of biochemical reasons for cravings. So let's kind of dig into some of the most common causes of sugar cravings. Now you may be surprised, but the number one reason for sugar cravings, and oftentimes the reason people have no control over them, is that they're skipping meals. Now, when people skip meals, that actually leads to low blood sugar. Now the normal blood sugar range… We want to see that value between 70 and a hundred. But when you're skipping a meal or you've gone too long without having a snack in between, your blood sugar levels can drop. And really what's happening is your brain is not getting the nutrients that it needs. So your brain may actually be saying, “Whoa, we're nearing that danger zone. I need some glucose, or I need some quick energy to function”. And so our brain cells are sending the message, “Give me sugar so I can function”. And often times we have those out of control cravings for sugar. But I want to be very clear that the brain needs more than just glucose to function properly. Oftentimes the sugar or the glucose is kind of the quick pick me up.

KARA: So think about the last time you were at the mall shopping. You were on a mission, so you shopped and you kept shopping. You shopped until you dropped, basically. You forgot to eat though. And that's just a scenario where you… We hear that story a lot, you know, people are out Christmas shopping all day and their blood sugar gets really low. They might start to feel kind of weak or light-headed, maybe get a headache and start to get irritable. And then what happens? Well that's when you, you walked by the Cinnabon or the pretzels and it seems really tempting. And because of that low blood sugar, your body and your brain are crying out for “Quick, give me something that's going to pick up my blood sugar quickly. So you get the big pretzel and you might justify it to yourself saying, “Well hey, it's low-fat”. But forgetting how high in carbohydrates and how much sugar that pretzel’s turning into… Actually some of those pretzels have 90 grams of carbohydrates. So that's, if we divide by four that's turning into 22 teaspoons of glucose or sugar in the bloodstream. So when your blood sugar's low, a biochemical response is that you're going to crave sugar or foods like the pretzel that are turning into a lot of sugar.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: So to correct that, you know, we want to be eating usually every three hours is going to work best for people. And it's not just carbohydrates. It's the combination of protein, healthy fats and vegetable or fruit carbohydrates.

SHELBY: Right. Now, Kara, I want to give listeners a little more direction on that when we come back from break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Think about this: “Are you designing your life to be healthy”? Now, a good way to get the information that you need to make those new healthy habits stick is to take one or all five of our $10 spring nutrition classes. Now that's a steal of a deal. You can hardly get two coffees for $10. This selection of classes include some of our most popular topics like Nutrition to Reduce Your Cancer Risk, Stress, Food, and You… A very popular one: Five Steps to Boost Metabolism, Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, and Nutritional Solutions for Better Digestion. So these are excellent classes taught by excellent instructors. If you want to know more, you can go to or you can call the office at (651) 699-3438. Don't wait because people do love these classes. They will fill up quickly. We'll be right back.

KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Designing your life to be healthy-that may be a new thought for many of you and this radio show, our nutrition classes and one on one nutrition consultations… They're all created to help you design your life to be healthy. Now next Saturday, Carolyn and Melanie are going to be on Dishing Up Nutrition, discussing how to avoid osteoporosis, so be sure to tune in next week so you can learn how to design your life and your eating plan to avoid osteopenia and osteoporosis.

SHELBY: Yeah. And Kara, this morning we've been talking about how to control cravings and helping people understand that you can design a nutrition plan. You can design your healthy habits around wanting to eliminate those cravings. And one of the reasons why we spend so much time talking about cravings is because we know that in order for people to be able to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, and in general to have kind of good feelings, kind of looking at general health improvement is they can't have things that are grabbing their attention, kind of distracting them from eating real food. And so to help people with their metabolism, we know one of the most foundational things that we need to change is we need to help them kick their cravings. So before we went to break, we were speaking a little bit about blood sugar. So I just want to help the listeners understand that unbalanced blood sugar levels cause carb and sugar cravings. So I just want to explain how this happens. So, for example, if you eat a high carbohydrate meal… cause we're kind of starting the day out, maybe thinking about breakfast cereal. Eating a bowl of breakfast cereal causes your blood sugar levels to rise because that cereal is a carbohydrate. It's turning into sugar in the body. Now your pancreas then releases insulin to clear all of that sugar from your blood. It's kind of all hands on deck. We have more insulin trying to take care of more glucose. And in that process of trying to get the sugar from the bloodstream to the cells, to the muscles for energy, that blood sugar level drops dramatically. And it's typically that very low blood sugar that makes people feel spacey, maybe irritable or anxious. Sometimes people get shaky or confused if their blood sugar's low. But really when people are having intense cravings, those uncontrollable sugar cravings, that's a sign that they have let their blood sugar get too low. And I want to really just take the self-blame out of there. Know that your blood sugar being low is stronger… That's a much stronger force than willpower. So it's a biochemical response, not an emotional need or kind of that comfort food that we had talked about. Experiencing low blood sugar is the number one reason for sugar cravings. So if you are feeling like you're self-sabotaging your health goals or you're still eating sugar or drinking soda and you want to make changes, start at looking… start looking, rather, at balancing your blood sugar. That's going to be a foundational change.

KARA: It's a 100% biochemical too, you know, and it's like you said, it's not a lack of willpower. It's, I mean, there may be some emotions going on, but when we hear emotional eating, a lot of times that kind of uncontrollable emotional eating stems from low blood sugar. We're much less likely to be reaching for the chips and the sugar if even if we're emotional, if we have stable blood sugar. And my biochemistry is very sensitive to blood sugar swings, the highs and the lows, the peaks and the valleys. So I have to design my life to eat about every three hours. And over the years, you know, I've come to realize it's worth that extra time. It's worth the effort in planning my meals and my snacks ahead of time. If I don't and my blood sugar gets low from maybe just waiting too long to eat or not eating in balance, I might get a headache. I definitely will be more susceptible to depression and anxiety, and mood swings when my blood sugar is low. And it took a while to for me to figure that out.

SHELBY: Yeah. And Kara, give listeners maybe an example of what you eat to balance your blood sugar. What would be that kind of combination of foods that you're looking for to make sure that your blood sugar doesn't go too high but also protecting your blood sugar from not dropping too low? Cause that really is where people have cravings and more of that stress on their moods, is that low blood sugar. So what would be an example of a balanced meal or a balanced snack to support your blood sugar? What do you do?

KARA: So instead of a bowl of cereal for breakfast, like you said, because that's just a straight carbohydrate, that's going to cause the spike and then therefore the crash, which leads to more cravings. Instead of something like that, I would have, I usually have three eggs for breakfast. You know, protein, and I found that two is personally not enough for me. So I do like to have three eggs for my protein. I cook my eggs and butter, which is a healthy fat. Healthy fats are the most stabilizing food for keeping blood sugar stable. So we can't forget the healthy fats. We don't want to be eating a low fat diet because our blood sugar will crash much more easily.

SHELBY: Right, now oftentimes I think people kind of self sabotage or they, they're hard on themselves telling, you know, telling themselves that they're weak-willed or they're having these cravings. But are they thinking about stopping and nourishing themselves? You know, are they thinking that they're too busy or they don't have time to eat every three to four hours like you had mentioned. You know, maybe they get distracted or they forget to eat. Now at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we try to help people understand that eating frequently takes some time. It takes some planning, but it's well worth that energy and that effort. Just like you had mentioned, Kara, so one of the tools that we, we utilize in classes and in counseling is to have people use a food journal. Now, it's not something that you have to write down everything that you ate, I encourage my clients actually to write down what they’re going to eat the next day so they have a plan in place, it’s a simple but doable habit that helps give people their health back. They are in charge of what they’re eating. When you’re planning out your day the night before than you can say well “If I have this meeting that goes until five o’clock than dinner may be pushed back so I need to back a balanced snack, something like that. So it really is helping people put together the protein, like you had mentioned, some vegetable of fruit carbohydrates and some healthy fat.

KARA: And the vegetable and fruit carbohydrates are the best source of carbohydrates because they are less likely to create that big spike in blood sugar that leads to that crash. They are very different than cereal, pasta and bread.

SHELBY: Now Kara, I wish we could talk more, I know there are more connections to cravings but our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person achieve better health by eating real food, it’s a simple but powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing.

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