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unhealthy food cravings and obesity

unhealthy food cravings

Unhealthy food cravings and obesity:

To begin with, Most of us are unaware of how important good health is. Obesity is a common issue among us all, whether young, old or children. Unhealthy food cravings can lead to obesity and we all know that all diseases start from obesity. Today approximately 2 out of 5 women, 1 out of 10 men and 3 out of 10 children in the world are obese.

In addition, According to the world atlas 2022, it is estimated that there might be 1.5 million people who will be affected by obesity by 2030.Most of us have experienced as intense urge to eat a certain food such as salty, sugary or fatty. These urges are called cravings. Unhealthy food cravings and obesity are interlinked.

unhealthy food cravings and obesity

Many people are also concerned about health but those people could not control their eating habits or many people want to control their eating habits and gain ideal weight but they get messed up due to food cravings. They all don’t know about exact connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity.

Due to lack of knowledge about what causes food cravings, those people fail to maintain ideal weight and could not get rid of obesity.

For ideal weight, food craving should be reduced first and a balanced diet should be followed.

First, we will learn why we have cravings? To know more about connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity.

Causes of food cravings:

  1. Micronutrients deficiencies due to less intake of whole grain food.

2.Cravings actually depends on 3 factors; –

  • Brain messages
    • Behaviors that become habits over time 
    • Having easy access to food

    Animal studies have Shown that foods (salty and sugary) stimulate the “Brain reward system”. When we eat certain foods, the neurons in the reward system become very active, creating a pleasurable feeling, so that we want to keep seeking these foods regularly, causing an additive effect.

    Salty and sugary foods can stimulate the metabolic, stress and appetite hormones including insulin, cortisol and ghrelin play a major role for cravings.  

    3. Animal studies have shown that chronic stress is one of the major causes for cravings. When cortisol is released with chronic stress, changes in the brain’s response can lead to lower serotonin and dopamine levels and increase cravings.

    4. Stress has been associated with increased levels of hormone ghrelin, again causing stronger cravings.

    5. Many advertisements of unhealthy snack foods and beverages such as ice cream, soda, Candy, fast food meals, potato chips with attractive packet design and high amounts of sugar, salt and fat that send signals to the brain “Eat me”, this advertisement are directly affected to the children’s psychology. Now a days, children have the highest exposure to the screen time, weather it is television, social media or online gaming. Just watching 30 second television advertisements or seeing attractive photos of cheap pockets on social media can Spark cravings. Surprisingly, educational websites also ranked in the top 10 for snacks, drink fast food and sugary cereal advertisements.

    6. Sleep deprivation creates imbalances in leptin and ghrelin hormone levels, this hormonal fluctuation may lead to overeating due to cravings for sweet, starchy, high fat and salty food.

    7. In women fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone hormones during various phases of their menstrual cycle. When estrogen levels are low and progesterone is high, women feel increased craving and less satisfaction after eating.

    8. Anti depression medicines such as sertraline and escitalopram can increase appetite. These antidepressants interfere with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulate mood and appetite, causing cravings.

    9. Some doctors use steroid prednisolone to replete low cortisol levels. Prednisolone can promote leptin resistance, so that leptin does not work properly to suppress appetite, causing hunger and cravings.

    10. Our body is made up of trillions of cells. Cells need oxygen from breath and nutrition from healthy food. Sometimes we eat food that fills the stomach but does not provide proper nutrition, that triggers the brain cells because the brain realizes that I am not getting proper nutrition so the brain gives the signal of Hunger to cells of the body, causing cravings again and again. Cravings tell us that I(body) want nutrition.

    11. Sometimes we feel low due to anger, jealousy, irritation, frustration, envy, hatred cause hunger pangs.

    12. High refined carbs meal, high sodium food and overconsumption of artificial sweeteners cause sugar spike in blood stream for balancing glucose and pancreas releases insulin. If we eat refined food frequently, the pancreas releases more insulin, so suddenly Glucose level goes down, insulin resistance occurs. Insulin resistance causes more cravings.

    13. Sometimes iron(hemoglobin) deficiency in women causes increased appetite. Those women couldn’t know the reason, so they overeat due to cravings and become victims of obesity.

    14. Food cravings also occurs due to the lack of protein, fiber and healthy fats in the daily meal.

    15. Because of eating too fast, the brain does not get a signal when to release leptin hormones, so we do not feel satisfaction and craving occurs.

    16. Due to over usage of video games, mindless social media scrolling, mindless too much shopping cause pleasurable feelings and dopamine releases. Too much dopamine releases known as dopamine depletion. Dopamine depletion creates hunger Pangs and cravings.

     Now, we will learn about remedies to reduce cravings and how to handle cravings. To know more about connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity.

    Solution to reduce food cravings:

    (1) Eat nutritionally balanced meals to break the connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity. Foods with protein, healthy fats and fiber provide long lasting satisfaction.

    (2) Avoid long gaps between two meals, eat nutritional meals or snacks every 2 to 3 hours. Gap more than 4 hours between two meals can lead to strong hunger and when you do eat causes risk of overeating.

    (3) Avoid late night binge eating. Eating multiple roasted seeds of mukhwas after a meal creates a high satiety level or adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of ghee with roti- dal- rice cause also high satiety levels.

    (4) Choose satisfying, less processed foods, snacks such as fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts and seeds, buttermilk and curd.

    (5) Sometimes the environment causes overeating. Avoid eating while scrolling social media, watching TV, online YouTube videos and checking office emails.

    (6) Evening snacking time is dangerous, around 4/5/6 p.m. Try eating whole meal, food such as dry fruits laddu, coconut- jaggery, peanuts and jaggery, vegetable juice which reduce cravings and increase satisfaction.

    (7) Eat slowly and eat with your senses, because of slow eating food made with saliva and go through the esophagus, then food will become easily digestible in the stomach. Hence, our body gets proper nutrition and we can protect our body from overeating.

    (8) Practice mindful eating if you are in tension, stressed, feeling low, lethargic and bored. Then try such activities. For example, breathing exercise, taking a brisk walk, meditate, practice savasana, listen to your favorite songs. These activities distract the mind and craving may subside.

    (9) Try dopamine and serotonin increased activities. For example, walking in nature, sunbathing, walking on the lawn or grass, watching comedy shows, funny videos and laughing loudly. You can do these activities in the morning or after dinner.

    (10) Friends also play a big role in our life and combination of unhealthy food cravings and obesity. . If friends are foodie, they have poor lifestyle then we also become foodie and like those people.

    (11) Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says that, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. If friends are fitness freaks, then we will be like those and if friends don’t believe in fitness, they will make us too. so, choose your friends wisely.

    (12) Ultimately, we should make such healthy snacks in the home from which children can eat healthy snacks. Try to avoid bringing salty, sugary and high fats chips, beverages from the superstore.

    (13) Consume vitamins and mineral supplements To get rid of the connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity.

    (14) Keep the Gut healthy with Gut friendly foods to get rid of the connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity.


    Now, we all know that connection between unhealthy food cravings and obesity.

    We have learnt the causes of unhealthy food cravings and how to get rid of obesity.

    Furthermore, we have also learnt remedies for reducing unhealthy food craving and how to reduce obesity.

    Then find your reason for food cravings and try to solve it and gain healthy and ideal weight.

    Everyone’s body is different. According to the body’s needs, follow Healthy lifestyle and food habits and get in shape. To get more insights about unhealthy food cravings and obesity, read my latest book, the magical ways for sparkling lifestyle.

    Dr.Hetal Patel


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