Why We Crave Snacks

by Paul Blustein

Skipping meals. We received quite a few emails on, "So what if we miss meals?" Well, we are going to show you what happens when you skip meals and what the body does to your mind so, read on and you will see.

Have you been told that you raid the fridge, or vacuum the refrigerator, or has someone told you that you are a walking garbage disposal after you came home from work and head everyone off between you and the fridge?

You're not alone. From sunset to sunrise, some men & women rival Dracula in how much they can suck down. They may miss their dinner, or they have worked late, or had an appointment, and in turn, miss dinner and snack all night long. Or, sometimes dinner just never ends! Short of calling a locksmith and padlocking the fridge, nothing at all can stop these nocturnal wolves, from cleaning out what's left in the ice box.

Eating at night and snacking on what ever they can get there hands on has been around a long time. It has, however, come about to be one of the major problems to becoming or continuing to add on to our waist lines, and other area's of our bodies. But most importantly, this leads your blood sugar levels going up and down like a roller coaster. That my friends is not good at all for your over all health.

Meal Skipping

"As more and more of us skip meals or eat later, we snack more," says psychologist Stephen Gullo, president of the Institute for Health and Weight Sciences in New York City and author of Thin Tastes Better. "Almost all the women I've ever worked with have gained the vast majority of their weight by eating at night, and at home."

According to Gullo, the first ten minutes at home are critical when it comes to controlling night eating. One of his patients, a 32-year-old attorney, follows a meticulous diet during the day. "Then she comes home, and after saying hello to her two children, she goes to the kitchen and starts picking - some cookies, some macaroni and cheese, a few chips, whatever the housekeeper left out for the kids," Gullo says. "In those ten minutes she goes through a thousand calories - more than she's eaten at any meal. And this is before she sits down to dinner."

The Meaning of Madness

Both physiological and psychological reasons cause women to become ravenous after dark. Toward the end of the day, blood-sugar levels naturally dip, and the body craves some sort of snack to refuel. If a woman has skipped a meal or two, that drop is exacerbated. Her appetite goes into overdrive, and a bag of Oreos or Lay's barbecue potato chips becomes a magnet, bending the most iron-strong of wills. As blood-sugar levels go down, a person becomes hungrier and hungrier. Anything high in carbohydrates or sugar increases the insulin level, which can make cravings even stronger. It's a vicious cycle: The more we eat, the more we want.

Intravenous Coffee

Those who mainline coffee during the day are only making matters worse. Coffee at first seems filling and eliminates the craving for food, but the effect is illusory. After about an hour, caffeine causes elevated insulin levels and the cravings kick in again and they can be much worse.

"If you're drinking coffee and skipping meals, you're going to be ravenous when you finally start eating," says Oz Garcia, a nutritionist in New York.

Garcia maintains that night eating is more than merely a bad habit, it's the body's way of coping with stress. "Food has very real medicinal properties," he says. The carbohydrates in that bread basket, he explains, stimulate production of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates nerve function. "She is medicating herself by eating those carbohydrates," says Garcia. "It's dietary Prozac."

Next time we will give you solutions and alternatives to helping you on through past the refrigerator and on to better living and health.

So long and be healthy.

Paul is the publisher of "Healthy Lifestyles Newsletter". To subscribe send an email to subscribe@am300.org. You can reach him at thin4life3@aol.com

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