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If You Crave: Breads and Pasta

The Likely Culprit: A Sleep Shortfall
If you can’t pass a bread basket or pasta bowl without wanting to dive in headfirst, a chronic lack of sleep is most likely to blame, says Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., a professor of environmental physiology at the University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health. “Your brain functions best on eight hours and 15 minutes of sleep nightly, yet many busy women are slogging along on six hours -- or less!” The problem, say UCLA doctors: Deep sleep is essential for restocking your brain’s stores of the appetite-taming hormone serotonin -- and as serotonin levels plunge, carb cravings go through the roof. “Within two days of becoming sleep deprived, almost 100 percent of people start grazing on breads, buns, and other starchy foods!” says Smolensky.

Rx: Make it a top priority to get at least eight hours of serotonin-boosting sleep nightly, and researchers at Houston’s Hermann Hospital say your carb cravings could disappear in as little as 72 hours.

(Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
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