Cravings or cravings for certain food types are one of the problems faced by many people who undergo diet restrictions while trying to lose weight. Here, we will look into factors that cause cravings and ways to deal with food cravings while dieting.

It's a nightmare for people trying to lose weight, in most cases it causes you to eat more and feel guilt. There are many psychological and physiological reasons for cravings during weight loss.

Understanding cravings will help you to find out whether the triggers are external or internal. External triggers can be the seeing, hearing, or smell of a specific food. Seeing an advertisement of foods on tv can trigger your cravings for that food. This is important as you are living in an era where the outside environment is full of things that will trigger your cravings.

The internal triggers can be emotions, stress, or even time- eating in time just turned into a habit.

An imbalance in hormones leptin, and serotonin can cause cravings.

Sometimes you crave certain foods, like chocolate. Chocolate is one of the most common food cravings in the west.

Food craving responses;

Food cravings are a common thing that affects a lot of people. Cravings can make you eat unhealthy foods so you need to identify the triggers and change your eating habits.

Why do you get cravings while dieting?

As you have read, cravings can hit you at any time, and while dieting their chances increase. It can ruin your diet and weight loss goals. Your diet and proper planning along with understanding the origin of cravings can help you to keep cravings away.

Let's look into some of the mistakes people make when they try to lose weight, and the steps they should take when dealing with cravings while dieting.

Eating Boring Meals can cause cravings while dieting

While dieting; you may feel that you have to keep yourself away from the food you use to eat daily. The thought of eating healthy foods will lead you to eat the same foods daily that are bland.

This will make you crave other foods and make your whole weight loss diet plan a failure.

Solution: Make your foods taste better

You can allow yourself to have foods that you like, but you have to reduce the food portions. Healthy foods don't have to be bland, season them the way you like.

Want some inspiration for cooking, check our healthy macro recipes.

It's always the quantity of food that matters- the portion size. You can find your portion size using our macro and portion size calculator.

Hand portion and macro calculator

Not eating enough protein

Protein increases your satiety and reduces your appetite. This study shows that a high-protein breakfast containing 30-39 grams of protein can decrease your appetite. It also helps you to reduce your intake later during that day.

Solution: Increase your protein intake at each meal

Try to intake the recommended daily portion of protein in each meal. It's recommended to take 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

So if you weigh 70KG, then it's recommended to take 90- 120 grams of protein each day. If you are having 3 meals each day, then you should consume 30-40 grams of protein in each meal.

Here are some of the protein-rich foods. If you are a Pinterest user you can pin the image for later use.

Healthy protein food sources list

Not eating whole foods and you may be missing fiber too!

Yeah, you may be trying to keep your body in a calorie deficit state. But is your diet a balanced one? Your choice of foods can sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

If you are getting most of the calories from processed foods or refined foods, then you may not be getting enough dietary fiber.

Refined foods are made by removing fiber and other nutrients to increase the shelf life and to bring uniform texture.

A diet rich in refined carbs can increase your blood sugar level levels and can trigger brain centers of appetite and cause cravings.

Solution: Shift your choices to whole foods

Whole foods are often good sources of protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Whole foods like beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils can increase your satiety by 31%.

Whole foods like nuts, prunes, yogurt are good options as snacks, which help to increase satiety and control your appetite. So you must keep these foods so that you can have them while food craving hits.

Shifting your food choices to whole foods thus helps you to control your cravings. In addition, they are also good sources of protein and other nutrients.

Healthy Carb food sources

Choosing low-fat foods

Similar to protein, intake of fat will help to keep you fuller for a longer time. But what happens is, people, choose low-fat foods when trying to lose weight, this can be counterproductive.

low-fat foods are often loaded with refined sugar to improve their taste. You have already read about the effects of refined sugar on cravings.

It's better to reduce your carb intake than fat intake, as a low-fat diet can increase your cravings when compared with low-carb diets.

Solution: Choose foods that are good sources of healthy fats.

The image shows some of the good sources of fats, we have divided them into three categories. You have to choose the first group and try to avoid the unhealthy ones.

You can pin the image for future reference if you are a Pinterest user.

Healthy fat food sources

Not Addressing Your Stress

Stress can be one of the causes of your hunger cravings. Stress is known to raise the cortisol level in your body and high levels of cortisol can cause cravings.

Stress can also reduce your appetite. As each person is different, the effect of stress is also different.

Solution: You can try these techniques to reduce your stress.

  • Practice yoga
  • Exercise regularly
  • Meditate and practice breathing exercises
  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Supplement ashwagandha
  • Spend time with friends and family


Cravings are a common thing that affects a lot of people. Cravings will cause binge eating, food addiction, and weight gain.

Following the above steps such as increasing protein intake, reducing stress, choosing whole foods, and choosing healthy fats will help you to reduce food cravings.

Be prepared, as planning is needed to fight cravings. Otherwise, you end up eating unhealthy foods.

How To Stop Food Cravings While Dieting


What causes food cravings while dieting?

Cravings are common even if you are not dieting. It can be caused by an imbalance in hormones, stress, eating behavior, or the food you ate.

While dieting your chance of getting cravings increases due to unhealthy food choices.

What do food cravings mean emotionally?

Food cravings can be triggered by emotions. Stress is one of the common reasons for triggering food cravings.

Your moods, which means your happiness, sadness, boredom can trigger food cravings but they differ from person to person.

Your memories can also trigger food cravings.

I want to lose weight but I can't stop eating junk food?

You have to plan to fight cravings for junk foods. Don't stay hungry for too long, as it will make you eat junk food in large quantities.

You can try chewing gum as it will help you to keep junk food cravings away.

You can eat a small portion of food regularly to avoid getting extremely hungry, snacking is also a good option. Choose nuts, berries, or fruits as snacks. Nuts are tasty and filling which helps you to keep junk food cravings away.

How to stop food cravings at night?

You have to identify the cause of food cravings at night. It can be night eating syndrome- an eating disorder, boredom, or extreme calorie restriction during the day causing night-time hunger.

A good sleep routine will help you to break these unhealthy night-eating habits. Go to bed at the same time every day.

Plan your meals in advance, try to include whole food sources, and pay attention to protein and fats in your meal. A balanced meal will help you to feel satiated and can keep cravings away.

It may be difficult at first and will take some time, but you have to follow a good sleep and meal routine that helps you to break from these food craving responses.

How to get rid of hunger without eating?

Your body needs the energy to survive, and hunger is a sign that the body needs energy. When it’s hungry food restriction is not an option, try to eat a balanced meal or healthy snacks to curb your hunger.

Crave healthy food:

Staying hungry for too long can lead to overeating unhealthy foods. So be prepared with some healthy meal or snack options to eat.

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