Nutrition

Food cravings: How do you compare?

Author: Canadian Living

Nutrition

Food cravings: How do you compare?

One of the most popular New Year's resolutions is the intention to lose weight. Some of us make it annually, only to find ourselves falling short a few months, or a few weeks, into the year.

If you find it nearly impossible to bypass your favourite foods, you'll be relieved to know you're not alone.

According to The Skinny Cow 2006 Canadian Cravings survey, conducted by Decima Research, 98 per cent of the Canadian population experience food cravings. The survey reports that top cravings include ice cream, chips, french fries, pizza and candy.

Interestingly, it seems that our cravings break down into gender differences. The old cliché about women preferring chocolate to sex just might have a foothold in reality! Chocolate, says Naomi Orzech, registered dietitian and cravings counsellor, is a top craving among North American women, while pizza and beer figure prominently in men's cravings. Although women are one and a half times more likely to crave sweets, Canadians in general show a slight preference for sweet over salty snacks. Only one woman in a hundred craves salads!

Cultural cravings also provide an interesting footnote to the survey. Egyptian women crave grape leaves and eggplant stuffed with meat and rice, while their male counterparts prefer molokhia soup and grilled fish. Spanish women and men share the North American cravings of chocolate and french fries.

Managing your cravings
If 98 per cent of us have cravings, how well are we managing them? According to the survey, women are nearly three times more likely to cave in to their cravings than men are, with single Canadians topping their married counterparts.

We have varying degrees of control over our cravings, with 56 per cent of survey respondents giving in to cravings sometimes, 9 per cent almost always succumbing and 5 per cent saying they always cave to cravings. A righteous 8 per cent claim they never lose control.

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Orzech says we have only three choices when cravings hit. We can ignore the craving, we can give in to it or we can find a substitute.

All three options are viable, given the right set of circumstances. It's unrealistic to expect that we can always deny our cravings, but we can find ourselves in big trouble if we always give in to them.

Beat your cravings with these healthy, tasty snacks.

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Food cravings: How do you compare?

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