It seems like many attempts folks make to follow a calorie-restricting, gut-torturing, penance-type diet ends with some disappointment and frustration. I’ve observed a number of clients cut carbs for a few days, but eventually find end up craving some type of carbs, like the diet-busting bagel. Craving carbs is a relatively common phenomenon and a study out this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that after people fast they’re drawn to starches first, instead of fruits and vegetables.
Researchers at Cornell University divided 128 students into two groups,
Group 1 had no food restrictions
Group 2 avoided all foods and beverages for 18 hours.
Both groups were then presented a buffet lunch including two starches (rolls and French fries), two proteins (chicken and cheese), two vegetables (carrots and green beans), and a beverage. The sneaky researchers then measured the amount of food each participant took using scales embedded in the tables, and used hidden cameras to videotape how much they ate.
People who had been fasting (Group 2) were more likely to eat a starch first, and ate more of the starches during the meal, than they were to eat vegetables when compared to the control group. That was especially true for women.
So, what does this mean exactly?
Well, it might provide some insight as to why people who struggle financially tend to choose foods that are high in calories, but low in nutritional value, which also may be linked to the high rates of obesity in this country. Also, increasing awareness of the tendency to crave high-starch foods when you’re extra hungry might help you control yourself next time you try to cut back on calories. For a list of some of the most effective options to help you make some of the healthier substitutions to minimize carb cravings, check out Y.E.S. – Your Eating Solution.