The Empty Calorie Problem: Snacking by Dr. Keisha Bates
Eating the right foods can go a long way. Conversely, eating the wrong foods can take us backwards. Empty calories are foods or drinks that provide very little to no vitamins and/or minerals. However, they provide unnecessary high fats and sugars - precisely what we as African Americans must try to avoid. The high fats and sugars contribute to inflammatory responses in your body resulting in diabetes, high blood pressure and/or cancer.
Everyone has cravings, and cravings tend to occur when we are stressed. We generally crave high fats or sugars when we become stressed. Stress then raises our cortisol levels, which subsequently can cause us to gain weight, give us digestive issues, leads to depression, sleep problems, heart disease, increased anxiety, memory and concentration problems.
Try this on your next craving. They key is to realize when we are stressed, we should avoid the empty calorie foods that our brain is telling us we are craving. Instead, exercise for twenty minutes - and drink plenty of water. The exercise should lower you cortisol levels, and bring down your cravings. Keep a few healthy snack options around your home. Include trail mix (choose raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds), oranges, apples, avocado, carrots or celery with almond butter, tuna on whole wheat crackers, boiled edamame, etc. Choose real foods as snacks. We can learn how to severely limit the cravings and turn it into a positive action. That positive action will in turn, help us lose weight, exercise more and eat better. A healthy community is a strong community.