Night-time hunger pangs

If you’re one of those typical person who likes to stay up late at night, you probably end up raiding your kitchen and eating whatever you can lay your hands on. Isn’t it? Well, studies have found that the hunger hormone called ‘ghrelin’ is known to increase in response to fasting and recurrent feeding patterns. And this is what makes you so hungry. 

Here are some tips to beat the night-time hunger pangs:

1. Breakfast and lunch should be filling. They should include a minimum of 400 food-based calories, inclusive of 25 grams of protein.

2. Have a solid snack between meals with each including at least 7 grams of protein.

3. The first week when you start this routine, it is advisable to have an additional 150-calorie, solid food-based snack that includes at least 10 grams of protein 30 to 60 minutes before your struggles used to begin. 

4. It has also been suggested that if the experiment is a partial success — which means if cravings are down but not gone — try adding 50 solid food-based calories to each meal and snack.

While these are diet tips that will help you curb your cravings, here are some psychological tips to beat them:

5. When a craving hits, imagine yourself engaging in a favourite activity. A study has found that replacing a donut in your mind with an image of a favourite activity like dancing, hiking or watching a movie and employing all your senses — the shapes, sounds and colours associated with that activity — may be an effective way to reduce the intensity of a craving. 

6. A 2012 study found that smelling jasmine (a non-food odour) reduced chocolate cravings, so this suggests that smelling something that doesn’t remind you of, or is similar to, food may help you reduce cravings, at least for chocolate. 

7. According to a research, chewing gum for at least 45 minutes promotes fullness and significantly suppressed hunger, appetite and cravings for snacks.

Many people also have sugar cravings in the middle of the night. By giving into those, you are adding loads of calories at one go. Even a cupcake has around 130 calories. In order to stop these cravings, use these tips:

8. If you’re struggling with persistent sugar cravings, try spritsing on some vanilla-scented perfume, using a vanilla air freshener or lighting a vanilla-scented candle. A study at St George’s Hospital, south London, found that putting vanilla-scented patches on the back of participants’ hands significantly reduced their appetite for sweet foods and drinks. It is believed that this is because the smell of vanilla can help to suppress cravings for sweet foods.
9. Sugar cravings can be hard to resist at the best of times, but if you are surrounded by others who are indulging in sweet snacks or desserts it can be increasingly difficult not to give in. Rather than feeling deprived when others are snacking, try to choose some tasty, healthier swaps for your favourite sweet treat and snack on nutritious fruits to satisfy your sweet cravings. Make a colourful fruit salad, snack on whole grain crackers with pure fruit spread or try fruits with natural yoghurt.
10. Sugar cravings are often a sign that your blood sugar levels are unbalanced. To help maintain normal blood sugar levels, try to eat little and often – having smaller snacks throughout the day – and opt for low-GI (glycemic index) foods which will release energy slowly throughout the day and not result in energy peaks and crashes. Good low-GI foods include non-starchy vegetables, nuts, legumes and complex carbs such as oats and brown rice.