Why Do Dieters Crave Carbs?

Logo_Dave_AppleIt 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.


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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