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Where the Wild Cravings Are

Where the Wild Cravings Are

That supersize bag of chips and gallon of caramel-swirl ice cream didn't just jump into your grocery cart. So what happened?

There may actually be a very scientific reason why the jumbo bag of frozen Brussels sprouts didn't leap into your cart instead, especially if you were shopping while hungry.

Sweet and Salt Sensitive
In a study, researchers recently tested healthy men's ability to taste salty, sweet, and bitter solutions. Turns out that when the men had skipped a meal, their taste buds were more tuned-in to sweet and salty flavors, but not so much the bitter ones -- think broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and lots of other veggies.

Researchers suspect that our bodies may have been hardwired since ancient times to associate "sweet" and "salty" with "safe to eat," so these flavors may be more likely to trigger eating, especially when the body needs energy.

Hunger-Control Central
Now that you understand the craving, maybe you'll have more willpower the next time the candy aisle is calling. Here's another way to control your eating habits: Eat three square meals a day, plus a snack, so you never get ravenous.

Want more stay-thin strategies? Read this article.

Medically reviewed in September 2019.

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