how to stop potato chips cravings

Best ways to stop craving potato chips

November 22. 2021

We all experience cravings at times; the sudden desire for a specific type of food is often hard to repress, and we don’t really feel like thinking it through. However, giving in too frequently can quickly lead to unwanted consequences such as food addiction and weight gain – since we don’t typically crave a nutritionally balanced meal. Snacking on a bowl of potato chips sounds way more appealing, but if you find yourself reaching the bottom of the bag too often, it may be the time to gain control and put this habit to an end. To help you achieve this, the medical experts from our weight loss clinic decided to clarify what causes potato chips craving and how to stop it. 

Why do you crave potato chips?

You may have noticed that cravings are not always related to hunger; you might crave a bar of chocolate right after finishing your lunch. The biological part of the craving equation involves several brain regions responsible for pleasure (the insula), reward (the caudate), and memory (the hippocampus) play significant roles in the process of longing for specific foods. However, scientists believe that the psychological part has a much greater impact on whether or not you’ll experience cravings. Your psychological health paired with a hormonal disbalance will typically trigger you to indulge in unhealthy amounts of potato chips. Additionally, this snack is high in sodium (which triggers the release of dopamine – the happy hormone) and fat (which tends to be comforting). Many people agree that the crunchy texture makes them feel more relaxed when under stress.
Here are the most common causes of potato chips cravings:

  • Stress. It’s now well-known that your body releases a hormone called cortisol when it’s under stress. When its level is too high, you’ll most likely start craving salty snacks. Boredom, a bad day, or pretty much any emotional discomfort will cause your brain to start seeking a reward or comfort, and finding it in a bag of potato chips seems like the easy way.
  • Premenstrual Syndrome. PMS-related hormonal fluctuations are expected; however, craving a salty snack a couple of times a month is unlikely to harm you. Still, if you’re following a healthy diet and would like to avoid snacking on potato chips entirely, keep reading to find out how to put a stop to this craving.
  • Lack of sleep. Deprivation of sleep is known to negatively affect many aspects of your health. One of the main reasons is that the lack of sleep causes hormonal disbalance. The cortisol mentioned above will increase, while your serotonin levels will significantly drop, causing you to crave a quick fix for your mood. Sleep deprivation will also trigger ghrelin (the appetite hormone) levels to go up, and leptin, a hormone in charge of telling your brain to stop eating, will decrease, leaving you virtually without self-control regarding your food cravings.
  • A sodium deficiency. A sodium deficiency can occur due to several factors, including exercise, too much sweating, kidney diseases, and the use of diuretics. To achieve an optimal amount of electrolytes, your body will ask for a salty treat.

How to stop craving potato chips

After understanding the potential causes of your potato chips cravings, you’re much more likely to identify them when they kick in and start practicing more mindful eating (and snacking). Although we all know that you can’t really switch a bag of this salty snack for a few celery sticks, there are ways to stop craving potato chips – and here’s how:

  • Identify the situations that trigger your craving.
    As mentioned earlier, if you’re feeling down, you’ll most likely start longing for this salty snack. If the craving kicks in when you’re tired – try managing your sleep schedule better. Stressful situations can also be reduced by meditating and paying more attention to your mental health. Some people also connect their potato chips craving with certain beverages, such as beer – if that’s the case with you, try switching for peanuts instead.
  • Make some smart swaps.
    Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, and obliging yourself to snack on carrots instead of chips, take a second to realize what it is that your body craves. If you crave salt – take a handful of salted almonds or any other nut of your choice. If you miss the crunch, make yourself some air-popped popcorn. In case you need the carbs, enjoy some baked sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil. 
  • Snack often throughout the day.
    By doing so, you’ll prevent the sudden blood sugar drops and hunger spikes and ensure yourself the mind peace much needed to make smart choices. If you continue feeling extremely hungry, you may be interested in the use of appetite suppressants.
  • Keep your healthy snacks on hand.
    Having some baked and slightly salted nuts by your hand can significantly ease your potato chips cravings; meal prep, in general, helps you stay on the right track when it comes to your diet.
  • Find ways to distract your mouth.
    If you realize you’re snacking out of boredom, try having a lemon-infused glass of water, or chew on sugar-free gum. The minty flavor will likely take your mind off potato chips.
  • Practice correct portioning.
    Instead of emptying a whole bag of chips by yourself, try portioning it into smaller snack bags. If you simply can’t resist the craving at some point, have a small, pre-made portion, and avoid opening another one.

Final thoughts

We can agree that giving in to an occasional salty craving now and then won’t harm you. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that such cravings can quickly turn into addictions if you’re not aware of your actions regarding food. Moreover, the components found in potato chips are known to increase the production of feel-good hormones, causing you to seek another handful or even another bag. Better safe than sorry applies here, since breaking the cycle of addiction tends to be way more challenging than preventing it in the first place. If you feel somewhat helpless when a potato chip craving kicks in, stop for a second to think about the potential causes and healthier substitutes. We hope this article helped you understand why potato chips cravings occur and how to stop them when they do. If you need additional information, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call today.

Nurse Walton

Author

Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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