Is your carbohydrate craving an indication of depression?

Published:August 31st, 2012


Are there any instances when your moods start taking a plunge downwards and you feel like you would kill for a piece of black forest or some cookies? Perhaps you had a crazy day in school or at work or your children are giving you a hard time at home and you find that grabbing a handful of candy is all that you crave for. Surprisingly, there are a lot more people like you, you are not alone. Research has shown that many people crave carbohydrates whenever they feel fatigued, upset or when something is disturbing their mind. This research goes on to attribute the craving to a decrease in a hormone known as serotonin, one of the feel-good hormones whose low levels are associated with low moods and decline in concentration.

So, with that kind of school of thought, debate is bound to be there on what really triggers carbohydrate cravings. There are people who do not agree with directly associating low serotonin with carbohydrate craving and instead associate depressed mood and craving for carbohydrate to an external event. In this manner of thinking, the external event is the most likely cause of plummeting serotonin then the craving follows thereafter.

Another hypothesis is that carbohydrate craving is a direct consequence of diet particularly for people who are on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Moreover, a totally different school of thought considers carbohydrate craving as a habit that was learnt early in life. A good way of projecting it is in the instance where a lady who was raised up to perceive anger as un-acceptable behavior, finds solace in eating treats because while growing up, the habit was encouraged probably by a parent.

Carbohydrate craving leads to obesity

It is interesting to know what facts exist in regard to carbohydrate craving. First of all, experts have come to discover that carbohydrate cravers have an increased affinity for daily calories to the tune of 800 calories a day more than other people. These people will therefore tend towards obesity or being overweight but some of them stay away from that by exercising more. Further research shows that eating carbohydrates makes the cravers feel better within a span of about 20 minutes. This anti-depressant effect is attributed to serotonin.

Carbohydrate craving: normal or not

There is need to know whether craving carbohydrates is normal or not. Well, it could go either way depending on the circumstance. For instance, developing this craving only when you happen to see some other person eating something is basically a desire to give in to suggestion. Moreover, having carbohydrate craving when you are handling an unpleasant task and feeling better when you feed seems to suggest that the person is self-medicating. On the other hand, cravings that arise in the late afternoons are quite normal. It is not a sign of depression but rather a manifestation of the normal day-night cycle. This craving becomes abnormal when it causes the person experiencing it to go to great lengths in order to satisfy it. Getting to that point warrants professional help as it may be a clear pointer of depression.

Tame your craving for a healthy life

Well, despite all that, carbohydrate cravers need to know how to tame their cravings for a healthy life. Some of the things that help include timing eating times to accommodate the cravings, carefully choosing carbohydrates foods e.g. those that are low fat and finally, discarding the guilty mind-set that carbohydrates for dinner or snacks are inappropriate. Choose them wisely and they will serve your body well.


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