chocolate1Taken from a story here

Most of us have experienced the irresistible lure of the 3pm chocolate fix – but for some people, cravings lead to more than just a harmless, occasional indulgence.

Those who experience ‘pathological’ cravings find them constant and debilitating and may be at risk of serious health problems, according to new Australian research.

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Stop Chocolate and Cigarette Cravings with Eucalyptus Oil??  New Study Opens Says This Could Be True! 

Psychology researcher Dr. Eva Kemps and colleague Dr. Marika Tiggeman examined the psychology of food cravings and found the use of counter-visualisation – in particular, imagining the scent of Eucalyptus Oil – was highly effective in curbing cravings.

Kemps, from Adelaide’s Flinders University, conducted a series of experiments in which chocolate cravings were induced in participants who were then asked to perform a series of tasks.

When they were asked to imagine the smell of eucalyptus oil, the chocolate cravings disappeared.

“When you are having a craving you are experiencing very vivid and clear mental imagery,” Kemp says.

“People’s mental capacity is limited in size, so if you are using it up to conjure up images of food, it can’t be used for EucLeavescroppedCLEAN1something else. 

“On the flip side when we got them to do another task, such as imagining the smell of eucalyptus they could not maintain the craving,” says Kemps.

“Engaging in a simple visual task seems to hold real promise as a method for curbing food cravings.”

The research is also relevant for people craving alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and drugs, Kemp believes.  “Smokers experience the smell of the cigarette,” she says.

She hoped further research would determine whether the technique could be used to modify eating and substance-abuse behaviour.

Source: A Cognitive Experimental Approach to Understanding and Reducing Food Cravings, E. Kemps and M. Tiggemann,  Current Directions in Psychological Science 2010 19: 86.

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