Nothing can derail your best diet efforts faster than caving into cravings.
And it’s the number one cause of all kinds of guilt. You really don’t need that when you’re trying to get it together.
That’s why the more you learn about what causes them and what you can do to ward them off – the better off you’ll be.
Recent research suggests that skipping one important meal can cause you to cave into cravings throughout the rest of the day.
Can you guess what that one meal is? (I’ll wait…)
I see it all the time too. And I think a lot of people lose the habit in college and during their 20’s when people star letting life get in the way of taking care of themselves. They literally lose the habit.
This study shows why it’s important to get this habit back.
Now before I give you the details of the study, it’s important you understand what causes cravings in the first place.
Psychological factors aside, the primary “driver” behind cravings is the hormone ghrelin.
High levels of ghrelin in your stomach tell your brain to be HUNGRY. When ghrelin levels are high, we tend to overeat
because we can’t seem to get enough.
Likewise, when ghrelin levels are low, we feel satisfied. Similar to how you feel AFTER you’ve indulged in the food you were craving.
So in this study, researchers recruited healthy individuals who were NOT obese.
Here’s how they set up the experiment.
Participants were asked to come into the lab on three separate mornings.
Each time, they were say in front of a display that contained pictures of fatty foods (think cake, chocolate, burgers, pizza, etc) or healthy foods (veggies, salads, fish, etc.) Then, as they looked at each picture they had to rate how appealing that food looked to them.
Now here’s where it gets interesting…
One third of the participants were asked to eat breakfast before arriving. Once they were at the lab they were injected with a saltwater (placebo) solution 40 minutes before they looked at the screen with the high calorie and low calorie foods.
Another third of the participants were asked to skip breakfast before arriving at the lab. They were still given the saltwater solution 40 minutes before looking at the food pictures.
The final third of the participants were asked to eat breakfast before showing up. However THIS time they injected them with the hormone ghrelin 40 minutes before looking at the photos.
To keep everything controlled, the researchers did not know whether they were injecting the subjects with saltwater or ghrelin. Also, the subjects weren’t told whether the injection was saltwater or ghrelin.
So what did the researchers find out?
For starters, when subjects had breakfast and were injected with the saltwater they preferred the low calorie foods.
When subjects skipped breakfast and were injected with saltwater, they preferred that fatty foods.
And for the kicker –
When they ATE breakfast and were injected with ghrelin, they found the high-calorie (fatty) foods more appetizing.
The lesson to be learned?
DON’T skip breakfast.
Doing so is like the injecting yourself with the “hunger” hormone ghrelin. And that means more cravings throughout the day.And the more craving means more distraction and temptation and Who needs that?
What’s the even bigger takeaway?
You can give yourself a real strategic advantage to sticking with your eating program when you do eat breakfast.
You can literally kill cravings before they even begin.
If you’re not a big breakfast eater that’s cool I know how hard it can be to get this habit back after it’s gone.
I say start with something small, easy, fast, and convenient.
Set it out the night before to make it even easier. Like a banana, yogurt, toast and peanut butter are fast and easy and you can usually eat them in the car.
Keep it simple and avoid the drive thru on the way to work.
You’ll reap the benefits of this one tactical change all day long.
P.s. “When in doubt about what action to take. Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. The majority is almost always wrong.” -Dan Kennedy