Beat Your Worst Food Cravings

Cookies, chips or chocolate constantly calling your name? If you're tired of battling your brain for control of your diet, get to the bottom of what your cravings really mean and watch them disappear (11 Photos)

Brenda Kearns on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:26AM

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Beat Your Worst Food Cravings

Steve Cohen/FoodPix/Getty Images

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If You Crave: Spuds

The Likely Culprit: A Tryptophan Shortfall
Few people have heard of tryptophan, yet your brain loves this amino acid because it uses it to make antidepressant hormones, say researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But that means when tryptophan levels dwindle, your moods can take a nasty downturn. Your brain’s response? It tries to correct this mess by craving a tryptophan-packed snack like potatoes, MIT studies show.

Rx: The key to taming this craving is to nosh 1/2 cup of any tryptophan-rich treat when your munchies flare. Potatoes will do the trick, and so will bananas, cottage cheese, hummus or rice (brown or white). According to MIT researchers, giving in to this craving will squash it in 10 minutes and keep it at bay for up to eight hours straight.

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