Each time you reach for something to eat to satiate your different moods- anger, fear, sadness, depression- it becomes emotional eating.Beware of it as these comfort foods can be really bad. Food cravings could be due to emotional, hormonal, or biochemical reasons. A small number of cravings could be a result of food allergy or even nutritional deficiency.

How to reduce them:

• Have small and frequent meals .when we skip meals our blood sugar levels fall which results in food craving, over eating and even binges. Females should eat every 3-4hours while males can manage in 4-5hours. Researchers have shown that frequent eating helps in reducing food craving associated with PMS[Pre Menstrual Syndrome] .

• Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration confuses the body and often makes us feel hungry. It is a good idea to take a glass of water every hour. Stimulants like tea or coffee or caffeinated soft drinks can cause fluctuation in blood sugar levels. Switch to green or herbal or fennel tea, diluted fresh fruit juice, homemade vegetable soup or buttermilk.

• Never reduce your calorie intake below a safe level.800 calorie diet can only be taken under supervision. Even during weight loss one must not opt for a diet less than 1200 calories. Choose nutrient dense food rather than empty calorie food or drink like soft drinks, candy, ice cream etc.

• Choose low GI[Glycemic Index]food. Choose whole grain bread, brown rice, basmati rice, whole wheat pasta or noodles rather than refined or processed starches.Opt for soluble fiber in apple, oats and beans. Choose plenty of vegetables as they are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals but low in calorie and usually low GI value.

• Over consumption of sugar and salt can make craving worse. Use spices to enhance taste.

• Keep healthy snacks handy i.e. fruits, nuts and seeds, baked tortilla chips or khakras .• Always combine some fat and protein with your carbohydrate. This will slow the rise of blood sugar from carbohydrates.

• Exercise can suppress food cravings due to the release of endorphins [feel good hormone] into the blood stream.

• By distracting yourself you can combat food craving. When craving attacks divert your mind ,talk to your friend, read the news, go for a walk or drive or go shopping. Stress raises the adrenaline level and makes craving intense. So stay away from it.

For more Query visit, Addlife by Luna Jaiswal, Dietician In Lucknow.