Use new science to kill age-old cravings.
Breathe and stop
Mindfulness isn’t just for staying calm on the commute – there’s evidence that it can prevent food cravings by occupying short-term memory, according to a study from London’s City University. Researchers found that everyone from Buddhists to gym-bros can benefit from a focus on breathing as a distraction – there are plenty of mindfulness apps that are free to try, and a better bet than the biscuit barrel.
Sleep off bad habits
Staying up late? Apart from the extra time it gives you to eat more – oh, those late-night raids on the cereal cupboard – research published this year in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing sleep to the recommended minimum of seven hours a night saw test subjects eat 10g of sugar less every day, alongside lower carb intake in general. Sleep is closely integrated with the regulation of energy and metabolism. Sleep deprivation modifies how we responded to new dietary changes, including increasing feelings of hunger, elevating hunger hormones, managing cravings, and controlling whether fat is burned or stored. It is well known that circadian rhythm which manages sleep also regulates blood sugar levels, liver function, digestion, and metabolism. That means the lack of sleep can make sticking to a new diet much more difficult. Instead of “sweet dreams” getting lots of Zzzs can increase your resistance to unhealthy, sweet cravings.
Full stream ahead
Netflix and NowTV might encourage bingeing on box sets – but at least their lack of ads will keep you off the crisps, according to one YouGov survey. Teens who watched more TV adverts – including those on streaming services – for junk food were more likely to have an unhealthy diet. These results suggest that just not seeing the bad stuff on your screen can reduce your chances of unplanned eating. Time to cut the cable?
Slipping a spoonful of peanut butter into your smoothies? Switch to walnuts. Researchers using fMRI imaging to examine changes in the brain as volunteers drank a walnut shake saw regions relating to fullness light up more than in subjects glugging a placebo drink, suggesting that there’s more to everyone’s least-favourite brain-shaped nut than simple fat and fibre.
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