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3 foods that cause cravings

Mineral deficiencies and skimping on sleep can harm an athlete's diet, but so too can seemingly-healthy eating choices. Here, three foods that could increase cravings.

Corn

The starchy veggie contains proteins called lectins, which can block your body’s ability to sense leptin, a hormone that signals your brain to stop eating, says nutritionist Haylie Pomroy. She also notes that this is why corn is added as an ingredient to packaged foods.

Artificially-sweetened foods

Zero-calorie sweetened beverages and sugar-free desserts should remain off limits. Since they are far sweeter than regular table sugar, “using a sugar substitute just reinforces our sweet tooth,” says David Perlmutter, MD, member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board and author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers.

Fat-free fare

Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds diminish cravings for sugar. Without the fat, you’re more likely to reach for the sweet stuff, explains Perlmutter. However, whole foods that are naturally devoid of fat (like the majority of fruits and veggies) are fine, as these contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.