Munch munch munch

The scientific explanation behind your food cravings

Blame your ancestors.

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Ever find yourself craving a meal or a snack, even when your stomach isn’t growling?

Food cravings are a common feeling, and the secret to those feelings lies deep within our brains — and our pasts.

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Thousands of years of evolution taught us one thing: When we see food, we should eat it.

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This is because our ancestors didn’t have access to sufficient food all the time, so opportunistic over-eating was advantageous.

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Modern technology has taken away the feast-or-famine problem, but our evolutionary senses haven’t caught up.

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And all that easily accessible, delicious, high-fat, high-sugar foods trigger our brain’s internal reward systems, which control our feeling of “needing” and “enjoying” food.

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And those systems can override the chemical pathways that trigger actual feelings of hunger, making us want to eat despite physically feeling satiated.

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Unfortunately, the evolutionary need to consume as many calories as possible, which is out of sync with the constant availability of food, means that sometimes we overeat.

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To fight overeating, experts suggest tweaking behaviors slightly, like going for a walk instead of indulging, or avoiding the candy aisle altogether when grocery shopping.

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Most importantly, experts agree that dieting doesn’t work. In fact, restrictive diets that take extreme discipline and constant maintenance often lead to worse food cravings and can affect mental health.

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Remember: Fighting food cravings is, in a sense, fighting evolution. We’re not powerless against it, but it’s important to have realistic goals when it comes to our diets.

Dive deeper into the story here.

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