3 Habits That Interfere With Your Weight Loss Goals
If you constantly struggle with a strong appetite and fierce cravings, some of your daily habits may be to blame. You might think your food choices are healthy and satisfy your need for something tasty when they are really causing you to eat more. Also, allowing yourself to get enough sleep each night is an important way to lose the cravings and bring an end to the binging.
Do You Eat Weight Loss Food Products?
Frozen dinners, mixes, sauces, snacks, and soft drinks are several examples of foods that are created with intense flavors not found in nature. They are called hyper-palatable foods.
Hyper-palatable foods overstimulate certain areas of the brain and create an addictive effect. These products tempt you to eat even when you’re not hungry.
Do You Use Artificial Sweeteners?
Feelings of reward from food consumption are what drives humans to eat. There are two stages of food reward, sensory and postingestive. Sensory information reaches the brain after you take a bite or drink of something that tastes good. Postingestive reward creates positive signals and sends them to the brain after food is digested.
Artificial sweeteners give you a sensory reward with their sweet taste, but the lack of calories eliminates a postingestive reward. When you activate one stage of food reward but not the other, appetite and cravings increase.
The use of artificial sweeteners stimulates a continual craving for sweets. When you have a habit of consuming sweet foods and drinks–even if they don’t contain calories–you train your tastes to prefer that added sweetness.
Do You Get Enough Sleep?
A lack of sleep each night has been proven to contribute to weight gain. Many distractions in life cause people to stay up late and get less sleep than they need.
Your body produces two hormones that regulate appetite. Leptin is produced in the fat cells and it tells your brain when it’s time to stop eating. Ghrelin creates signals that say it’s time to get some food.
Research shows that when you’re sleep deprived, hunger-producing ghrelin becomes elevated while leptin remains stable. After several sleepless nights in a row, leptin levels decrease and your appetite becomes even stronger.
Sleep deprivation creates cravings for sweet, salty, and starchy snacks. Those who sleep for nine hours or more each night have less than half the risk of obesity of those who sleep for six hours or less.
Processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and sleep deprivation are all factors that contribute to weight gain. Many believe that processed diet foods and artificial sweeteners help them achieve weight loss goals, but science shows that they do quite the opposite. Sleep deprivation has the same effect, increasing nighttime junk food cravings and hunger.
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Schmid, Sebastian M., Manfred Hallschmid, Kamila Jauch-Chara, Jan Born, and Bernd Schultes. “A Single Night of Sleep Deprivation Increases Ghrelin Levels and Feelings of Hunger in Normal-weight Healthy Men.” Journal of Sleep Research 17.3 (2008): 331-34. Print.
Yang, Qing. “Gain Weight by “going Diet?” Artificial Sweeteners and the Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 83.2 (2010). Print.
Nolan, B. “Inadequate Sleep as a Risk Factor for Obesity: Analyses of the NHANES IGangwisch JE, Malaspina D, Boden-Albala B, Et Al (Columbia Univ, New York) Sleep 28:1289–1296, 2005§.” Yearbook of Neurology and Neurosurgery 2006 (2006): 133-34. Print.