All kinds of things, from stress and anxiety to a change in weather, can make us want to nibble on some sweets or snacks like chocolate.
And for many, this compulsive eating can lead to weight gain – something which is not wanted.
In an effort to lose weight, many people with a ‘sweet tooth’ turn to artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. But now, scientists warn, these artificial sweeteners can boost appetite by activating hunger pathways in the body.
Writing in the journal Cell Metabolism, the Australian scientists found that the mismatch between sweet taste and fewer calories sends the body into ‘feed me’ mode but UK nutritionists point out that the tests were on animals and this does not mean the same is true in humans, the BBC reported.
The researchers, however, said more work is needed to make sure that the billions of people who regularly consume sugar substitutes do not have the same reaction as they saw in their animal tests.
The Australian team looked at brain signals linked to appetite and pleasure as they restricted what the animals could eat. Some were given a diet that contained natural sugars while others were fed the same diet plus added low calorie artificial sweetener.
The researchers from Sydney University found that when sweetness and energy was out of balance for a prolonged time the brain compensated, sending signals in a bid to increase the number of calories consumed and, given the chance, more was then eaten.
Managing what you eat is one of the successes of clinical hypnotherapy, says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) – the UK’s leading hypnotherapy association with more than 1,800 qualified therapists on its directory.
“As well as stopping compulsive eating, hypnosis can increase your motivation for exercise,” says the NCH.
“It can also help you reduce portion sizes so you lose weight healthily, steadily and for the long term. Losing weight with hypnosis is essentially about teaching you to feel good about yourself, whatever size you are. It focuses on making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle that will remain with you for the rest of your life.”
But there are other reasons why people over eat. For instance, adds the NCH, people who see a hypnotherapist for overeating, may find they are nourishing themselves with food, rather than love or as a result of some traumatic or stressful incident.
“If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the pack, then a hypnotherapist can help you understand why and help you create new healthy self-management techniques,” the NCH says.
To see a highly-trained NCH therapist near you, simply click here to access the therapist directory.