Did you ever walk down a busy street, and the simple smell of baked goods gets your body craving bread, pasta, or pastries? Suddenly you went from craving nothing to, “I need a cinnamon roll and I need it now.”
That’s because seeing a photo of food, smelling food, or even thinking about indulging triggers the release of the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter, dopamine, in your body, which has been stored in memories as past pleasure. Yes, the cinnamon rolls you ate as a kid are now coming back to you in a full-force craving.
Most times, however, when we crave simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and pastries, it’s because our body is really looking for a quick feel-good serotonin boost. So we go for that cookie or endless bowl of pasta, hoping to satisfy both our dopamine and serotonin fix. But these simple carbohydrates typically never satisfy us and usually we end up craving more. This is because your brain doesn’t have the nutrients it needs, so it keeps searching for them. Since simple carbohydrates get processed quickly, you may find yourself staring into your pantry, wondering why you are still hungry and what else you can eat.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are some things your body really needs to help alleviate those cravings: