Sugar, chocolate, doughnuts, potato chips, pasta or bread – if you have carbohydrate cravings, any of these foods may haunt you. And while you may not normally think of alcohol as a carbohydrate, it too can induce similar cravings. Below are steps you can take to reduce carbohydrate cravings.

Step 1

Consult your doctor to find out whether you have an underlying medical condition, such as depression. Carbohydrates can act as a medicine, causing serotonin levels — feel-good chemicals in the brain — to rise; consequently, some people who consistently crave carbohydrates are unknowingly self-medicating.

Step 2

Begin each day with a brisk walk, bicycle ride or stint at the gym. Whatever you do, make it for at least 30 minutes daily on most days of the week. Continue to exercise throughout the day, taking short walks or simply standing and stretching whenever you feel a carbohydrate craving. Exercise can work two ways to combat cravings: distracting you from your food craving and stimulating brain pleasure centers to improve mood. Since a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of depression, regular exercise is a significant tool for enhancing self-esteem, promoting well-being and decreasing the urge to overeat

Step 3

Eat balanced meals, consuming foods from every food group and focusing on natural selections, not prepackaged foods. Although sugar, alcohol and carbohydrate cravings are common among women, they’re often a sign of a hormonal imbalance resulting from a lack of nutrition. If you are uncertain what a healthy diet entails, consult a dietitian for advice tailored to your lifestyle, health and food preferences.

Step 4

Eat several small meals daily to keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce carbohydrate cravings that arise when glucose levels drop. Space your meals about three hours apart and consume six meals of approximately 300 calories each. This practice also helps promote weight loss, stoking your metabolism for continuous calorie burning.

Step 5

Keep a food journal and record the day, time and mood you are in when carbohydrate cravings strike. This will help you pinpoint any triggers in your life perhaps enticing you to eat to relieve emotional stress. The connection between stress and eating has roots in brain chemistry. Persistent stress causes many people to crave high-fat, high-calorie foods. Once you identify a pattern of overeating, you can learn to recognize true hunger.