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How to beat craving for chocolates

Craving for chocolate and don’t know how to beat it? The first thing you need to do is learn to acknowledge and accept the yearning.

“If you stop fighting and ... accept something it loses its influence and power over your life,” said CSIRO researcher Robyn Vast.

To test what drives our addiction to chocolate, Robyn recruited 110 volunteers in Adelaide and divided them into three groups. Each group was given a bag of chocolate to carry around for a week, with the aim of resisting the goodies in the bag.

The first group was given no intervention, and 43 per cent totally resisted chocolate. The second group was taught how to control cravings, with 56 per cent able to abstain from eating chocolate over the seven-day period. The third group was encouraged to acknowledge and accept temptation when it arose.

“The third group was taught an acceptance-based approach with 81 per cent eating no chocolate at all,” said Robyn.

Vast said cravings are a little bit like an itch; they seemingly come from nowhere and demand our full attention when they occur.

“What I found was that if people accept craving for chocolate as human behaviour, just something that happens to them, then you take the fight out of it. It takes the pressure off,” she said.


Outdoor exercise healthier than gym workouts

A study has found that exercise in natural environments was linked to greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement. Also levels of tension, confusion, anger and depression were lowered by exercising outside.

A team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry looked at data from sources including 11 trials involving 833 adults.

All compared the relative merits of outdoor exercise compared to indoors.

Apart from improved mental health benefits, the study also reported greater enjoyment from exercising outside, and a higher likelihood of continuing with the exercise regime.

The study has been published in the journal ‘Environmental Science and Technology’.


Liking for sweetness may help alcoholics kick the habit

Alcoholics who have a sweet tooth are more likely to kick the habit using a common drug treatment, according to a new study.

Naltrexone, a drug that blocks opioid receptors in the brain, is used primarily to treat alcohol dependence, but is effective only in around 78 per cent of people.

David Sinclair and colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, asked 78 study subjects with alcohol dependence who had taken the drug recently to rate their preference for sugar solutions. They found that those who had the least liking for sweetness were more likely to revert to drinking.

Sweet tastes and alcohol both trigger opioid chemicals that stir up pleasure.

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