Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Food Cravings

Blame It on the Bacteria in Your Gut

by Judy Chambers RNCP, CPT

Chocolate may seem pretty hard to avoid, but some people crave it every day! New research shows that it might not be lack of willpower that makes you give in to the cravings... your body's bacteria may be to blame!

Chocolate, sweets, carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol.

Many people actually crave these things, sometimes on a daily basis.

Call it lack of willpower, bad habits or addiction, but the fact remains that some people find the urge to consume these treats too difficult to resist.

Now a new study points to a biological basis for chocolate cravings that has major implications for your health and your weight.

Cravings and Bacteria

A team in Switzerland studied two groups of men, those who crave chocolate daily and those who consider themselves indifferent to it. They found that "people who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate's allure."

Researchers are not sure if chocolate consumption alters the bacteria content of the intestines or if the bacteria changes, thus triggering the cravings.

Either way, the bacteria/cravings connection is an important one.

Other research shows that the bacteria content of the intestines is different depending on body weight. Normal weight people have one kind of dominant bacteria while obese people's intestines are populated by a different strain.

Again, researchers are not sure what happens first: weight gain or a change in intestinal flora.

Regardless, the findings illustrate that cultivating a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight and freeing yourself from cravings.

Grow Your Beneficial Bacteria to Banish Sugar Cravings

A healthy inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microflora (good bacteria and yeast) that aid your digestion and help you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, most North Americans today have an imbalanced inner ecosystem, which can lead to food cravings and obesity.

By re-establishing a healthy inner ecosystem, you can free yourself from chocolate and sugar cravings as well as maintain a healthy weight.

The easiest ways to encourage the growth of good bacteria is to add fermented foods and probiotic supplements to your diet.

Fermented foods and probiotic supplements are carefully cultured with strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast to populate your gut and enhance your health.

Long a tradition of ancient cultures, fermented foods and drinks are becoming more popular in the health-conscious Western world.

Fermented foods and drinks include:

  • Cultured Vegetables (unpasteurized sauerkraut)

  • Young Coconut Kefir

  • Yogurt or Milk Kefir

  • Cultured Kimchi

  • Fermented Kombucha

Probiotic superfoods innoculate, colonize and feed the growth of good microflora in your body. Yes, they are a must for boosting your immunity, but they are also essential for stopping those cravings for the sugars that sabotage your ability to lose weight and stay healthy.

Keep in mind, though, that a desire for the sweet taste is quite natural. Finding pleasure and a sense of satisfaction in the sweet taste and constant cravings for sugars or alcohol, however, are definitely not the same.

We humans were created to actually enjoy that sweet taste (part of the five elements – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent) but do so with whole foods that don't harm us or age us quickly.

Easy Probiotics

With the stress of everyday life it is oftentimes difficult to take care of your health AND everything else. We know that you are serious about supporting your inner eco-system with healthy fermented foods and drinks but may lack the time or equipment to prepare them.

That's why many modern manufacturers have created naturally fermented foods, beverages and probiotic supplements for you, such as; unpasteurized sauerkraut, kombucha soda by Fairy Tonic and the latest living probiotic supplement ProAlive Probiotic by Ascended Health.

Living ProAlive Probiotic is an all natural, vegan liquid which contains beneficial flora, along with a high concentration of the various by-products from these friendly bacteria, such as "B" vitamins, enzymes, natural support elements (bacteriocins) which defend against the bad bacteria, yeast and fungal inhibitors plus other substances necessary for inner balance or homeostasis.

One of the main flora (Paracasei) is a healthy cleansing flora that works in the liver and digestive tract to help flush out toxins and works as an anti-fungal agent. Research indicates that the Curvatus lactic acid microbe has the ability to produce anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-mold agents to inhibit detrimental organisms from flourishing in your system.

So it's not about willpower. It's actually about what you are feeding your body and whether you are consuming foods and drinks that create or upset your inner ecosystem - balance in body, mind and spirit.
Spring into action with a probiotic-rich, wholesome diet designed to create a balanced inner eco-system. Dynamic by Nature is commited to supporting you in this quest... to learn more about balancing your personal eco-system, cutting-edge workshops, eco-products or to subscribe for FREE tips, check out www.dynamicbynature.com today!


Borenstein, Seth, "Scientists Explain Chocolate Cravings," WashingtonPost.com, 12 Oct 2007. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101200019.html

How the Bacteria in Your Gut Affect Your Body Weight - And How to Get the Balance Right

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Blogger craig said...

Interesting post Judy. I made my girlfriend read it. She enjoys a bowl of chocolate (yes I said bowl of chocolate) for her late night snack quite often. Now I can tease her about feeding the bad bacteria whenever she does this.

I wonder how much our food cravings are related to external forces. I tend to crave ice cream quite often but I think it's more about how it makes me feel. I'm actually eating a DQ blizzard as I type this. If you have time check out my Vancouver personal training website. Here is my Vancouver personal trainers blog

March 26, 2010 9:21 PM  
Blogger Judy Chambers said...

Good point, sugar is definitely a "feel good food" which triggers serontin production (sensations of comfort & love). Interesting to note that sugars molecular structure is identical to cocaine (five ring structure), needless to say extremely addictive! Eastern medicine suggests using sour foods (berries or fermented foods) and mineral rich foods (dark leafy greens or sea veggies) to curb sweet cravings. Key always being moderation and balance!

March 29, 2010 9:50 AM  

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