The Science Behind Food Cravings

Food cravings - is it all in your head?

Well, actually it is! When people say it’s all in your head, they are totally correct. Whether sweet or savoury, or something very specific, our brains are set to seek pleasure through food. As WebMD points out ‘Three regions of the brain -- the hippocampus, insula, and caudate - appear to be activated during food-craving episodes, according to new research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Their brain tests suggest that memory areas of the brain (which are responsible for associating a specific food with a reward) are actually more important to food cravings than the brain's reward centre’.

Why do we crave certain foods?

Well, according to BioMed Central, ‘To understand pleasure in the brain, it is important to consider the main challenge for the brain which is to successfully balance resource allocation for survival and procreation. In order to achieve this balance, different rewards compete for resources over time.

A hand picking up a slice of pepperoni pizza off a piece of light paper

Food Cravings vs Hunger Cravings

Pleasure, viewed through the lens of our evolution, is a means of survival. We all crave food when we are hungry - when our body's resources are low, but we also crave specific foods because our brains have created neural pathways; shortcuts to finding the best, most efficient means of survival. In many cases these shortcuts (or in simpler terms, memories) lead us to high energy foods - i.e. high calorie foods. No wonder we tend to crave pizza and chocolate instead of salad.

Now, can’t simply switch off those cravings - they are pretty hardwired in after a childhood and lifetime of gastronomic experiences. Indeed, breastmilk is a source of energy - a combination of fat and carbs (as well as other nutrients). If you are trying to cut calories or carbs for any reason (slimming, medical, general health), that means you are going to have to weather some intense cravings that will have been developing in you since the moment you were born. 

What can I eat instead of the high calorie foods I crave?

This is where Lo-Dough comes in. You can still eat all the foods you crave - just make them with Lo-Dough. Pizza - swap out the carb-heavy base for an Original Lo-Dough base. Pastry? Same same. Chocolate lovers - reach for our Brownie Mix or if its cake, go for our Vanilla Sponge! Missing fried chicken? That’s where our Southern Style Coating comes in super handy! 

On the other hand, demonising high calorie foods or attaching guilt is also unhealthy and can lead to a negative relationship with your diet. If you are craving a certain food from fond memories and aren’t able to make it ‘healthier’, you should still enjoy it! 

Recipes to satisfy your cravings:

Low carb Lo-Dough pepperoni pizza on a pizza boardLow Carb Pepperoni Pizza

We know that the nation is passionate about pepperoni pizza. By making yours with a Lo-Dough base, you can load up on the good stuff while reducing your carb intake by over 90%.

Lo-Dough cherry and raspberry brownies on a decorative white plate

Low Calorie Raspberry & Cherry Brownies

These gluten free raspberry brownies are perfect for those of you looking four flourless cake alternatives. We’ve even snuck a bit of fruit in there (which works perfectly with the chocolate!).

Lo-Dough chicken nuggets on a plate with homemade chips and salad

Low Fat Southern Style Chicken Nuggets

Although we use less than 11 herbs and spices in our blend, our Southern Style Coating is perfect for that ‘Fried Chicken’ fix, without the added calories. Say hello to the perfect low carb, low fat, crispy coating.

A slice of Lo-Dough coffee and walnut cake on a plate with the full cake in the background

Gluten Free Coffee & Walnut Cake

A classic cake for a classic break-time snack. Only ours breaks all the rules. This is low-calorie cake; low-carb cake; high-fibre cake and gluten free cake. This is healthy cake! 

A slice of lemon meringue pie on a dark green plate with a spoon

Low Sugar Lemon Meringue Pie

A lemon meringue pie with no added sugar took us a few goes to perfect, but we have got it nailed down and we are ready to share the recipe with you guys! It might be a little bit retro, but we still love it - when something is this tasty, it's pretty undeniable.