Mind & Body

The Science of Snacking

According to a 2013 study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, a whopping 1 in 4 people engage in late-night "concocting," or "creating strange food mixtures that you would be too embarassed or ashamed to share with others." (Chips with lemon, anyone?) But this behavior can have negative implications about your overall health, and can wreak havoc on your waistline.

Are You a Snack "Concocter"?

One study found that 25% of people create crazy late-night snacks.

What Causes Cravings?

It's usually not hunger.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Physiological hunger is how your body tells your brain it needs calories. When your stomach is empty and your blood sugar starts dropping, your body secretes ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone. Once you've eaten, the ghrelin turns off and you feel satiated. 00:39

  2. In some cases, a food craving can be a sign that you need a specific nutrient (salt, for example), but if the nutrient you need is very specific like magnesium, there's no evidence you'll start craving chocolate, even though chocolate has magnesium in it. 01:16

  3. Often, cravings are more psychological than physical, and they're also tied to your brain's memory center. Cravings can also be caused by a boring diet. 01:30

How to Curb Your Cravings

One psychological trick might help you feel satisfied -- without eating.

Why We Love Food Porn

Simply looking at pictures of food, as opposed to actually eating it, might satisfy your cravings.

Written by Curiosity Staff October 25, 2016

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