TMHS 238: The Science Of Cravings: Serotonin, Dopamine, And Cheetos

The word “craving” has a lot of meanings in our language. To sum it all up, it can range from a small internal whisper, to a deep, burning desire for something. We can crave achievement, love, drugs, food, and so much more. In fact, cravings are at an all-time high today. There are more things than ever to crave, more access to them, and more things designed to keep you coming back.

Today we’re going to dissect what cravings actually are. You’re going to understand the science of cravings and be able to see them in a whole new way. You’re also going to find that cravings are not so black and white as many health experts have made them out to be. There can be 50 shades of grey for cravings (please don’t take that analogy too far like my mind just did) and this powerhouse episode is all about learning how to traverse them. Cravings will come and cravings will go, but there’s a special message inside of each of them. So, click play, take good notes, and enjoy!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • What cravings actually are.
  • The intelligent system in our bodies that controls our appetite and cravings.
  • Why your hypothalamus is the master gland in your body.
  • Which hormones regulate your hunger and satiety.
  • How cravings are related to homeostasis (balance in your body).
  • Which neurotransmitter has a significant role in cravings and reward.
  • The surprising way that serotonin relates to cravings.
  • How the function of our hunger and cravings can be influenced while we’re in the womb.
  • The key differences between hunger and cravings.
  • How cravings and habits are related.
  • The biggest nutritional cause of cravings.
  • Why there are different forms of the same nutrients.
  • Which breakfast food will lead to increased cravings throughout the day.
  • How food scientist figured out how to make you crave more of their product.
  • What cravings for salty foods could be signaling.
  • Where to find the most important electrolytes in foods.
  • The #1 macronutrient that helps reduce cravings.
  • Whether or not we should give in to our cravings (this is important!).
  • The surprising ways that chocolate affects our appetite.
  • How sleep deprivation influences hunger.
  • How to reduce cravings and improve sleep by exercising at a specific time.
  • What cardio compensation is.
  • How exercise influences our brain and appetite.
  • What type of exercise stimulates appetite and what type of exercise reduces it.
  • The truth about stress eating and how stress impacts our cravings.

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Download The Transcript



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  • Una
    30 Aug 2017, 7:36 pm

    I loved this episode as I finally got an answer to why I turn into a gremlin if I stay up too long after having “just one piece” of some snack 😀

    Really adore the show and I appreciate the way it has been improving my life. I love how you look at the big picture and talk primarily about health and long-term well-being, instead of giving the listeners a “dose of dopamine” focusing on immediate visible results of workout and diets, like the majority of fitness influencers are doing.

    I also appreciate your carefully selected guests (when you have those), I’ve been amazed by the work of every single person who joined you on the show.

    Great work, thank you so much!

    Also, I left the iTunes review (after you reminded us we could do it during the show) and was wondering if there is any other place where we can endorse this podcast?