Realigning Your Carb Cravings

Eat your way through the colder seasons worry-free with these healthy carb tips and recipes.

| September/October 2019

 Photo by Adobe Stock/svetlana kolpakova

Food cravings stem from a multitude of physical, emotional, and spiritual causes. The resulting nature of these cravings may vary, but for most people, carbohydrate cravings tend to increase in severity and frequency as summer fades away into autumn and winter. At this time of year, many experience a sudden increase in sugar or starch cravings. Some people choose autumn to begin working with a nutritionist because they’re struggling to find solutions to cycles cravings followed by energy crashes that ensue. But it’s natural to want more carbohydrates in winter months; this seasonal shift in food-based urges is built into human physiology, a sign that we haven’t escaped our relationship with the planet’s rhythms.

New Season, Different Cravings

In accordance with the season, a combination of cooler weather and less light brings heavy, starchy foods to harvest. Winter squashes, root vegetables, and hearty big game animals come into season in autumn. With proper storage, winter squash can keep for multiple months, allowing us to draw upon their nourishment in the darkest of weather.

Richer in starches, these golden-hued vegetables are more calorie dense than their summer counterparts, allowing us to draw more energy per bite to insulate us from the cold. Beyond the benefit of their caloric density, winter squashes and root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A; this ultimately helps our ability to see in the dark, which is extremely useful during seasons with less daylight hours.

Research shows that humans tend to consume more calories and move less during the cooler winter months. Overall hunger may not be substantially different, but changes in light and heat may influence the types of foods we crave, leading to increased calorie intake. A 2005 study showed that daily calorie intake was nearly 100 calories higher in autumn than in spring. Additionally, physical activity is typically lower during winter, and lack of activity itself can influence cravings and appetite. While this study indicated that fat intake peaked in the winter and carbohydrate intake peaked in the summer, many people crave a combination of starch and fat year-round.

Temperatures notwithstanding, the decrease in daylight hours influences brain chemistry and can have a powerful effect on food cravings. Serotonin production directly correlates to the number of daylight hours, so having less light results in reduced serotonin production. Serotonin not only influences mood, but has an appetite-suppressing effect as well.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter