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How to Take Control of Your Cravings

July 13, 2010 No Comments by Scott Isaacs MD
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Image by Ana Pinta via Flickr

Excerpt from Ladies’ Home Journal (August 2010)

By Leslie Goldman

You swore you’d have just a few fries and you’d give up those giant breakfast bagels. You also promised that you’d deal with PMS in a way that didn’t involve candy bars. So why do your cravings still get the best of you? Forget willpower. The solutions are all in your head.

You think: After a bad night’s sleep I have to eat constantly the next day. I’m ravenous!

Why you can’t resist: Just a few nights of tossing and turning can send your appetite into overdrive. That’s because sleep helps regulate body weight and metabolism, says Scott Isaacs, MD, author of The Leptin Boost Diet. Log too few hours and levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin dip while the amount of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, rises. And if you frequently miss out on sleep you may gain weight. A joint Stanford University and University of Wisconsin study found that people who got less than eight hours of sleep a night had a higher body mass index than those who slept more.

Take control by: Getting enough rest. But since that isn’t always doable, tweak your diet to fight that ravenous feeling, says Dr. Isaacs. Eating fruit, veggies, and high-fiber carbs regularly can help your body produce leptin more efficiently, while foods high in zinc, such as beef and low-fat dairy, may enhance leptin’s effect.

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