7 Effective Strategies to Stop Food Cravings

Nothing derails a diet faster than food cravings. Just a few seconds of binging on fatty, sugary snacks can set you back to 0… even if you’ve done everything right for the past week!

So if you’re serious about losing weight, getting a grip on cravings is an essential part of your diet strategy.

Now, I know from my own experience just how persistent cravings can be (even today, I still have a weakness for Heath Bars!)

But there are ways to control your urges… And today, I want to share with you some of the most effective strategies I know of.

Do these consistently, and soon you’ll be in full control of your appetite.

7 Ways to Control Food Cravings

Stop food cravings | Probiotic America

1. Avoid Extreme Hunger

By avoiding extreme hunger, you can prevent food cravings from popping up in the first place.

Here’s how you do it: Always eat at regular times, and never skip meals. When you skip, you’ll only sap your willpower… which leads directly to cravings.

Also keep healthy snacks around – things like almonds, fresh blueberries, and string cheese. For those times you do get hungry, you’ll have nutritious options ready to go.
Stop food cravings | Probiotic America



2. Reduce Your Stress

Stress plays a major role in triggering food cravings, especially for women.1,2,3

When stressed-out, women are prone to frequent cravings as well as increased appetite, so they eat even more bad calorie – not a good combination! 4

An not only that – stress also raises your levels of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to gain weight, especially in the belly area. 5,6

To reduce stress, exercise at least 3 times per week, and try meditating for 10 minutes at a time each day.

Stop food cravings | Probiotic America

3. Eat More Protein

Eating high-protein diet helps you feel full and satisfied longer.

In one study, overweight teenage girls who ate a high-protein breakfast experienced significantly fewer cravings. 7

And in another study, overweight men who increased protein to 25% of daily calories reduced cravings by a full 60%, and reduced their desire to snack at night by 50%. 8

Increasing your protein intake is easy – just add foods like greek yogurt, almonds, and whey protein shakes to your diet.
Stop food cravings | Probiotic America


4. Don’t Grocery Shop Hungry

Going to the grocery store hungry is like putting a kid in a candy store.

You have easy access to any food you crave… and the worst of the worst at right at eye level – sugary cereals, cookies, and candy – to tempt you into buying.

To prevent the sweets from getting to your house in the first place, simply don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry!
Stop food cravings | Probiotic America

5. Change Your Environment

When cravings kick in, sometimes all you need to do is put some distance between yourself and the food.

That’s why changing your environment works – get outside and go for a walk, or even hop in the shower to get your mind on other things.

Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it’s enough to get over the urge to eat the things you know you shouldn’t.
Stop food cravings | Probiotic America

6. Eat Nutritious Meals

When the meals you eat aren’t nutritious, it starts a dangerous cycle… and the next time you eat, you’ll want unhealthy food again.

The answer is to eat healthy, balanced meals – include protein, vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and fats with each one.

If you need a guide, the Healthy Eating Plate from the Harvard School of Public Health is a great resource.


Stop food cravings | Probiotic America

7. Get Enough Sleep

The hormone “fluctuations” in your system – the natural rising and falling of the chemical throughout the day – play a big role in your appetite.

And when you don’t get enough quality sleep, it disrupts the fluctuations, which can lead to food cravings. 9,10

Studies show that sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to become obese, compared to the well-rested. 11

So get at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night to give your body time to recharge and keep your hormones at a healthy level.

So there you go – 9 strategies for getting a handle on your food cravings, once and for all. And listen, these take a bit of work – don’t expect to have superhuman willpower over night!

The goal is to practice these strategies a little each day, building up your appetite control as you go.

Just stay consistent, and before you know it, you’ll be able to say “No!” to your cravings, whenever they pop up.


Dr. Cary Nelson 

For more health tips and delicious recipes, keep reading:

5 Simple Ways to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics

Got Stomach Pain? Maybe Your Diet is to Blame


1. MN, Yau. “Stress And Eating Behaviors. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
2. Hormes JM, et al. “Chocolate Craving And Disordered Eating. Beyond The Gender Divide? – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
3. RW, Macedo. “Sweet Craving And Ghrelin And Leptin Levels In Women During Stress. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
4. Epel E, et al. “Stress May Add Bite To Appetite In Women: A Laboratory Study Of Stress-Induced Cortisol And Eating Behavior. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2001. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
5. P, Björntorp. “Do Stress Reactions Cause Abdominal Obesity And Comorbidities? – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2001. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
6. Moyer AE, et al. “Stress-Induced Cortisol Response And Fat Distribution In Women. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1994. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
7. Hoertel, Heather A, Matthew J Will, and Heather J Leidy. “A Randomized Crossover, Pilot Study Examining The Effects Of A Normal Protein Vs. High Protein Breakfast On Food Cravings And Reward Signals In Overweight/Obese “Breakfast Skipping”, Late-Adolescent Girls”. N.p., 2014. Print.
8. Leidy, Heather J. et al. “The Effects Of Consuming Frequent, Higher Protein Meals On Appetite And Satiety During Weight Loss In Overweight/Obese Men”. N.p., 2011. Print.
9. Taheri, Shahrad et al. “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated With Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, And Increased Body Mass Index”. N.p., 2004. Print.
10. Markwald, R. R. et al. “Impact Of Insufficient Sleep On Total Daily Energy Expenditure, Food Intake, And Weight Gain”. N.p., 2013. Print.
11. Cappuccio FP, et al. “Meta-Analysis Of Short Sleep Duration And Obesity In Children And Adults. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2008. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.

Why Psyllium Husk is a Powerful Weight Loss Helper

Psyllium offers a multitude of serious health benefits for a healthy digestive system. Pronounced “sili-em,” this fiber is derived from the husks of a plant seed known as Plantago ovata. After the seeds are removed from the shell, the psyllium husk is then milled to create a powder. Commonly used as a dietary supplement, psyllium husk powder is an effective and convenient way to increase your daily intake of this essential nutrient.

The National Fiber Council recommends adults consume approximately 32 grams of fiber daily. It’s no surprise that most Americans fall short of reaching this daily recommendation. It can be challenging to consume enough fiber-dense foods. Adding psyllium husk powder is a simple way to reach a daily fiber goal.

Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber

All fibers are not created equal. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble is a term used to describe a substance’s ability to dissolve in water. When consumed, soluble fiber blends into the natural water of your digestive tract, forming a gel-like substance. However, insoluble fiber does exactly the opposite. Instead of absorbing the water in the environment of your GI tract, it actually passes through undigested. As the fiber travels through your digestive system, it acts as a bulking agent, clearing out everything – including toxins, pollutants, and stored waste.

Psyllium husk is comprised mostly of soluble fiber (70 percent), but it provides insoluble fiber as well. Because psyllium husk fiber works this way, it is a wonderful addition to a gut-healthy diet.

Here are just seven reasons to add psyllium husk to your diet, today!

Psyllium husk | Probiotic America

1. Regularity

Psyllium husk fiber works in your GI system to help speed up the digestive process. As it passes through your intestines, and down into the colon undigested, it pushes food through your digestive system faster, thus increasing transit time. Additionally, this may help to remove any lingering waste from your colon, supporting your overall health.1

2. Diarrhea

Use psyllium husk as a home remedy for stomach upset with accompanying diarrhea. To increase the surprisingly fast results of psyllium for diarrhea relief, consume the powder along with yogurt or milk for the additional benefits of probiotics.

3. Acidity

To maintain optimal health, our bodies must maintain a balance between acidity and alkalinity. The stomach has the highest acidity in the body, with a pH of 1.35 – 3.5. This acidity not only aids in digestion, it also protects against pathogens.2

Again, though, maintaining balanced pH levels throughout the body is key. Without it, damage to the lining of the stomach and intestines may occur. Psyllium husk’s high insoluble fiber content may help, by coating the stomach lining, and reducing acidity in the GI tract.

Psyllium husk | Probiotic America

4. Fewer Cravings

If you suffer from hunger pains and food cravings that seem to strike all day long, you may need to find more filling snacks. Psyllium husk powder can easily be added into recipes to increase satiety. As the bulk-forming fiber enters your digestive tract, it promotes feelings of fullness.3

5. Nutrient Absorption

Fiber is the best food to feed hungry, helpful gut bugs. While your digestive tract contains an estimated 100 + trillion living bacteria, some of those tiny bacteria can make you very sick if you let them get out of hand. Kill off the “bad” gut bugs that can cause illness by feeding the “good” bugs (probiotics) what they need to grow: fiber.

Studies have shown that by consuming more fiber, prebiotic microbacteria in the gut flourish. This can lessen GI inflammation and promote better nutrient absorption through the intestines.4,5

6. Piles Relief

Because psyllium husk softens stool and makes the digestive process easier, it is also known to reduce the pain of swollen blood vessels around the anus and rectum. For those suffering from “piles,” commonly known as hemorrhoids, the added fiber may really help to reduce pain and irritation of bowel movements.

7. Difficulty Passing Stool

Most people today aren’t getting enough water. The right amount is different for everyone, but what you may not realize is that if you are thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. This can take a toll on the proper function of the digestive system. For people suffering with pain associated from passing dry stools, psyllium husk may help. Because of the high content of insoluble fiber contained in this plant-based fiber, it holds water inside the GI tract, making stools easier to pass.

Fiber is an essential nutrient needed for proper digestion and a healthy body. While some forms of fiber can be overly-binding (including psyllium), it is highly recommended that you aim to drink at least 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water every day to see how your body reacts to psyllium husk fiber. From there, you can consume fiber every day to fuel optimal digestive health!

Note: As with any new health regimen, check with your doctor before adding psyllium husk to your diet.

Dr. Cary Nelson

For more health news, keep reading:

How Stress is Destroying Your Microbiome (+ 3 stress-busting tips)

Why Your Immune System Depends on Your Gut Health

1. National Fiber Council. About Fiber. Are you getting your fill of fiber? http://www.nationalfibercouncil.org/af_are.shtml

2. Gerry K. Schwalfenberg. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 727630.

3. Clark MJ, Slavin JL. The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(3):200-11.

4. Shiu-Ming Kuo. The Interplay Between Fiber and the Intestinal Microbiome in the Inflammatory Response. http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/1/16.full

5. Krishnan S, Rosenberg L, Singer M, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cereal fiber intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in US black women. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:2304-9

Are You a Soda Addict? (the truth about sugar revealed)

Are you slowly killing yourself by too much sugar? As disturbing as that sounds, millions of Americans are doing this every day. And even though we doctors constantly talk about the dangers of too much soda (and sugar)…

Too many people don’t get how dangerous sugar really is!

High sugar consumption is linked to all kinds of serious health problems, such as:

  • Addiction and Craving

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Tooth Decay

  • Elevated Cholesterol

  • Diabetes

But… scientists have discovered another, even more serious side effect:


Yes… Heart Disease.

According to research published in the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Society, eating too much sugar can significantly increase your risk of death from heart disease.1

The joint study, conducted by a team of scientists from the CDC, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Emory University, looked at people’s sugar habits in detail.

Here’s what they found:

People who get between 17-21% of their calories from sugar are at a far greater risk for heart disease, compared to people who eat less…

38 percent higher, in fact!

But the findings get even more extreme…

For the people who ate the most sugar (more than 21% of their daily calories)…

Their risk for heart disease shot up to more than double that of the people who ate the least sugar!

So when I tell you to avoid excessive sugar, I’m not just talking about staying slim… I’m trying to help you stay alive!

And thankfully, word is spreading and people are cutting back on unhealthy foods like sugary cereals, pastries, and candy.

But… there’s one area where I still see people damaging their health with sugar:

sugar addict | Probiotic America

Soft Drinks.

Soft drinks are bursting with added sugar. But most people have no idea just how much is in there.

Here are the facts: A 12oz can of Coke contains about about 9 teaspoons of sugar.

But according to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of daily sugar you should eat is:

  • 9 teaspoons per day for Men

  • 6 teaspoons per day for Women

In other words, a single serving of Coke equals your entire daily allowance for sugar if you’re a man…

And if you’re a woman, that one little can will to put you 50% over the daily limit!

See how sneaky the sugar in soda can be?

So you can understand why cutting out soft drinks (or at least cutting back) is the smart thing to do for your health! And just because you ditch soda doesn’t mean you have to live on tap water alone…

There are many delicious options for staying hydrated and refreshed. Some of my favorite sugar-free drinks are fruit-infused water, lime-flavored seltzer, and pure coconut water.

Now, if you’ve been a diehard soda drinker all your life, making the switch could take some time. But I guarantee you it’s worth it.

P.S. How are your soda habits? Are you trying to cut back, or look for alternatives? Please be honest and leave your comments below this article… because the more we know about people’s sugar habits, the easier it will be to find solutions.

Dr. Cary Nelson

For more health news, keep reading here:

How Stress is Destroying Your Microbiome (+ 3 stress-busting tips)

Why Your Immune System Depends on Your Gut Health


1. Yang, Quanhe et al. “Added Sugar Intake And Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults”. JAMA Internal Medicine 174.4 (2014): 516. Web. 21 July 2016.

Stretch Your Way to Digestive Health (3 easy yoga poses)

Digestion problems affect an estimated 70 million Americans. They include everything from irregularity to diarrhea and vomiting, but no matter what the issue is, there may be a simple solution.

It’s as easy as a toe touch.

Okay, maybe not that simple – but almost.

While it can be intimidating to take a yoga class– you don’t have to. In fact, you can gain all of the benefits of stretching and deep breathing right at home.

Just try these simple yoga poses (known as “asanas”) when you have a few moments to stretch. It could make all the difference in your digestion.

Here are three yoga stretches that helps with digestive problems:

stretches to relieve stomach pain | Probiotic America

1. Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Dandasana is super easy to do, so it is a great pose for beginners. Use this posture to lengthen the spine, and open the chest and torso to stimulate the digestive process.

To perform Dandasana, sit with your legs fully extended out in front of you. With your palms, place the hands deep into the floor at the sides of your body. Bring your elbows close to your ribs. Ensure that your spine is straight, and that your posture is aligned. Direct your gaze forward.

As you sit in Dandasana, take 3-5 minutes to practice deep breathing. To do this, inhale through both nostrils and fill your belly with breath. Exhale and blow the air out of your mouth. As you exhale, you may choose to engage your core by squeezing your thighs together and pointing your toes inward, closer to your body.

2. Bharadvaja’s Twist (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Bharadvaja)

This is (literally) a new twist on an ancient asana. Using the traditional seated position of Bharadvajasana I, this pose includes and additional twist to further stretch the spine and torso while opening the belly to improve digestion. To perform Bharadvaja’s Twist, begin in Dandasana pose. Then, shift your weight to the right side of your buttocks. Bend the knees inward towards your body, and then bring both legs over to the left side. Rest your legs on the floor and place your right foot on your left inner thigh.

Hold that pose and then inhale. On the inhalation, elongate your spine. Imagine it extending into the floor and upwards, toward the ceiling. As you exhale, twist the upper part of your torso to the right, placing your right hand on the floor behind you to support yourself. Rest your left hand on your outer right thigh, and turn it palm up.

Draw your shoulder blades down, and inward. There will be a slight bend in your back. Twist your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head. On every twist, look over your shoulder, turning your gaze towards a wall or other focal point. Hold that position for up to one minute. Release the twist slowly, exhaling as you unwind your torso. Return to center in Dandasana pose. Then, repeat Bharadvaja’s Twist on the opposite side.

yoga to improve digestion | Probiotic America

3. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

This pose is a wonderful chest opener, and it also works well to open the torso and ease digestive problems. To perform Bhujangasana, lie on your stomach with your legs fully extended behind you. Keeping the tops of your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands under your shoulders. Face your fingertips forward, and bring your elbows close to your body. Inhale as you lift your head and chest off of the floor, gently pushing your hands into the ground. Keep your lower ribs on the floor, and slowly push your shoulders backwards.

Inhale deeply, filling your chest with oxygen. As you inhale, bring your gaze to the sky and feel the natural extension of your spine. Do not force the backbend. Only straighten your arms if you are able to. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds. Release as you exhale slowly, and lower your chest back to the ground. Turn your head to the right, and rest your left ear on the mat. Lay your arms at your side and relax your body until you feel able to stand up comfortably.

Breathe Your Way To Digestive Health

Deep breathing techniques, an intrinsic part of yoga, aren’t just great for stress reduction, they are also like a massage for your vital digestive organs. Because taking repetitive deep breaths moves your diaphragm and opens the ribcage, it increases transit time for bowel movements, and helps deliver essential nutrients throughout your body. This can help to stimulate the digestive process, easing digestive problems.

So, get off of your asana, and try these three yoga stretches for a healthier digestive system! They are easy to do, even while you’re watching TV.

For more tips on achieving optimum digestive health, keep reading here:

Got Stomach Pain? Maybe Your Diet is to Blame

Want a Healthy Belly, Both Inside and Out? Try these 4 Foods

What is the Metabolome? (And Why It’s Essential to Health)

Every living thing depends on metabolism, a biochemical process that, among other things, converts food to energy and helps eliminate waste. The molecules that help carry out these processes are known as metabolites. The quantity and type of metabolites in an organism are known as the metabolome, which is a relatively new term that was first coined in 1998 in a scientific paper1.

Why is the Metabolome Important?

Metabolomics, or the study of the metabolome, has been used in a wide range of applications, including the screening of newborns, drug trials, toxicology, and many others. Scientists are using metabolomics to help them get a better understanding of how the body’s molecular pathways are connected.

The metabolome may ultimately help researchers understand the causes of different diseases by giving them further insight into “biomarkers,” which are indicators of a particular problem. Metabolomics provides a clearer picture of how metabolites work under certain conditions to produce biomarkers.

Metabolomics, many experts believe, can deliver clinical information sooner than genomics (the study of genes) or proteomics (the study of proteins)2. One of the main reasons is that it is far less expensive to obtain profiles of metabolites compared to genes, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and proteins are much larger and more complex to analyze than metabolites, making the process extremely time-consuming.

Another advantage of metabolomics over genomics and proteomics is the fact that metabolites can easily be gathered for analysis, and the process of doing so is non-invasive. Metabolites are found just about everywhere in the body, in saliva, blood, urine, and tissues. Analyzing different types of fluid can help identify certain types of diseases. Metabolites in urine can, for example, show there could be a problem with the kidneys, whereas metabolites in saliva could indicate some sort of issue with the lungs.

metabolome | Probiotic America

Metabolomics and Breast Cancer

One specific “real world” example that shows the promise of metabolomics occurred in 2015, when Danish researchers announced they had used metabolites to create a blood test that could tell whether or not a woman is likely to develop breast cancer3.

The researchers said that the new test could predict whether or not a woman was likely to develop the disease anywhere from two to five years in advance with an accuracy rate of 80 percent. Traditional mammograms have a 75 percent accuracy rate but are only effective once the disease has already developed.

The basis of the research was blood samples as well as other data from 400 women gathered over a 20-year period by the Danish Cancer Society. The women were cancer-free when they first enrolled in the study but were later diagnosed with the disease anywhere from 2-7 years after they provided blood samples. The researchers compared those samples with another group of 400 women who had not developed breast cancer.

The scientists analyzed several different compounds in the blood samples, examining them for changes in metabolism that typically occur before tumors form. While more trials will need to be conducted before the technique is ready, early indications are that it may not only be able to better predict the development of breast cancer, but other diseases as well.

metabolome | Probiotic America

The Future of Metabolomics

The possibilities of metabolomics are extremely encouraging.4 Doctors could potentially be able to analyze how metabolites are acting within cells to identify patterns that could help them detect tumors much faster than they can through current methods. Computer programs could be developed based on metabolomics in order to make predicting the development of diseases quicker than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago.

This is not the stuff of science fiction impossibilities. A British researcher has already created a computer model using metabolites in blood plasma. This model can determine whether or not a pregnant woman is in the process of developing preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication characterized by extremely high blood pressure.

A researcher at Duke University is using metabolomics to design a test for schizophrenia that could also help treat people with the condition. She has found that people with schizophrenia have a certain metabolic pattern in their blood that is not found in people without the condition. This pattern might be able to show why patients respond well to certain types of antipsychotic drugs while others experience significant side effects.

Another area where analysis of the metabolome shows promise is through helping people find the diet that is best for their needs. For example, most people assume that they need to lower their fat intake in order to lose weight. But a lot of people have issues with low-fat diets because they can increase the presence of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad” cholesterol, which can lead to a heightened risk of heart disease. Metabolomics can identify the metabolic biomarkers that would put a dieter in danger of increased LDL.

Metabolites are also being used to study why certain people are more susceptible to problems such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and more. This work could eventually disprove the link between genetics and these issues. A British researcher found that while people of Chinese and Japanese descent are similar from a genetic perspective, they suffer cardiovascular issues at substantially different rates. One reason could be that there are significant differences in the kinds of metabolites in their urine as well as their blood.

There is even a study that uses metabolomics to determine why some people like chocolate and some don’t. One interesting finding was that those who do tend to have lower amounts of a dangerous type of bacteria known as bacterium Clostridium difficile. They also, according to the study, have less LDL.

It will take time, of course, for metabolome analysis to turn into tangible tests that will help doctors pinpoint the likely development of diseases in their patients. However, the potential for this area of study is limitless.

Dr. Cary Nelson


1. Oliver, Stephen. “Systematic Functional Analysis Of The Yeast Genome”. Cell.com. N.p., 1998. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
2.”Metabolomics: What’s Happening Downstream Of DNA”. Medscape. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

3. Russell, Peter. “Blood Test Could Give Early Breast Cancer Warning”. WebMD Boots. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

4. “Signs Of A Long Life”. The Economist. N.p., 2008. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

The 5 WORST Foods Wreaking Havoc on Your Gut Health

Good gut health affects so much more than just digestion. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 80 percent of your immune system lies in the gut, and that’s not all. A healthy gastrointestinal tract also plays a major role in proper brain function, clear skin, and even your good mood. With so much at stake, you might want to know more about the little gut bugs that call your digestive system home. They include some “bad” strains, like E. Coli and Streptococcus pneumoniae, as well as “good” strains, like L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis.

Continue reading “The 5 WORST Foods Wreaking Havoc on Your Gut Health”

Want a Healthy Belly, Both Inside and Out? Try these 4 Foods

If you’ve been obsessing over how your abs look, it’s time to focus on what’s behind them – your gut! Your gut, which consists of your small and large intestines, plays an important role in the way your body is able to absorb water, take in vitamins and minerals, and digest food (just to name a few of its many functions). 1

Continue reading “Want a Healthy Belly, Both Inside and Out? Try these 4 Foods”