Food cravings are a daily struggle for many people. Do you ever wonder why you so strongly crave that piece of chocolate while your partner wants a bag of salty potato chips? A new study published in BioEssays blames the diversity of your gut bacteria for this.
The struggle to resist food cravings is a major proponent of unhealthy eating. The problem with unhealthy eating is that it leads to a multitude of health conditions including obesity, sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Despite knowing how a poor diet can negatively impact health and wellness, eating patterns are often the most difficult changes to make. Research is suggesting that these deviations from a healthy diet and propensity for poor choices might have less to do with self control and have more to do with our gut bacteria.
The authors of this paper suggest that gut bacteria alter the cravings we experience to benefit their own health and growth. Individuals who are “chocolate desiring” have different microbial metabolites in their urine than those who are chocolate “indifferent”.
Like microscopic puppet masters, microbes may control the eating behavior of hosts through a number of potential mechanisms including microbial manipulation of reward pathways, production of toxins that alter mood, changes to receptors including taste receptors, and hijacking of neurotransmission via the vagus nerve, which is the main neural axis between the gut and the brain
What is encouraging about all of this is that our microbial sphere can be altered as quickly as 24 hours after making dietary changes. The researchers conclude that one way to change eating behavior is to alter our gut bacteria. How do you do this?
- High quality probiotics
- Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut and kimchi
- Foods rich in prebiotics like asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion root, burdock leaves and leeks.
- Fresh yogurt with active cultures
Next time you feel the urge to reach for a cupcake or a bag of Lay’s you’ll know why and you’ll know how to change it.
Read the full article here.