5. Salty Snacks
What do crisps, peanuts and pretzels all have in common? No, not just that they’re totally moreish – it’s the fact that they’re very salty. And this moreish-ness and saltiness has a two-pronged effect on our hunger levels returning.
Studies have shown that the sodium in salty foods triggers a response in the reward centre of the brain. The brain then releases the happy neurotransmitter dopamine and we feel great. But in order to keep dopamine levels high, we crave more salty snacks, when we might not even be hungry.
Salty snacks are generally low in anything else of any use, such as vitamins, protein or fibre, Instead, they’re usually made with processed white potatoes or refined white flour, which are quickly turned into sugars when we digest them. This leads to a spike in blood sugar levels followed soon after by a crash. We then feel hungry again and so the cycle continues.
Also, salty foods make us feel thirsty, and it is possible to confuse the feeling of thirst with one of hunger. We might not actually be hungry, so have a glass of water on hand when you have salty snacks to quench your thirst, and your potentially fake hunger.