South Beach Diet - Intense Carb Cravings from Salad?

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09-03-2010, 12:51 PM
so on wednesday, i bought a salad for dinner (lettuce, grilled chicken, egg whites, cheese, turkey bacon). it was great and i was fine afterward, but it ended up being too big so i saved half for lunch the following day. on thursday afternoon, i was starving, so i bulked up the salad by adding more lettuce and some chickpeas. after eating the salad, i had the worst carb cravings the ones i use to get before starting sb. i didn't eat anything off plan, so i don't know what triggered the cravings. :?:
was it the chickpeas? the large number of carbs in the salad? the time i ate the salad? all 3? has anyone else experienced something like this?

Fat Melanie
09-03-2010, 01:15 PM
With all of that satiating protein, I'm surprised by the cravings! And I wouldn't even necessary think that the chickpeas could be the culprit because they're full of fiber, protein, and the type of carbs that release into your blood stream slowly. What did you eat prior to eating that for dinner? What was your breakfast, lunch, or snacks?

09-03-2010, 01:32 PM
Is there a chance the grilled chicken was seasoned with a sugary sauce or maybe maple on the bacon? I know a lot of restaurants add sugar in places you would not expect to find it.

If that's not it I agree with Melanie, what else did you eat yesterday? beans shouldn't cause cravings, it's not about the good carbs it's about the processed carbs. What phase are you in and how long? Hope they pass quickly!

09-03-2010, 01:55 PM
thanks for the responses!

the chicken was just plain, grilled chicken. no sauce or anything. same with the turkey bacon as i added it myself.

i'm still in phase 1 and yesterday was day 10 for me. as for what i ate prior to the salad, i had breakfast and several snacks as i couldn't get to lunch until later in the afternoon but i made sure to eat something at least every 1.5-2 hours:

snack: plain yogurt, coffee (eaten before workout)
breakfast: cottage cheese, 1 tbsp sliced almonds, coffee
snack: 100 calorie snack pack of almonds
snack: cottage cheese
lunch: salad

i don't think it could be what i ate for my breakfast or snacks as it's the same thing i've eaten since starting sb

09-03-2010, 02:10 PM
I have no idea. Sorry :( Is it getting better? Maybe it had nothing to do with the salad and was just a last gasp of the cravings?

09-03-2010, 03:04 PM
unfortunately, the cravings lasted the rest of the day. :mad: but at least i managed not to give into them. i still kind of think that they were somehow related to what i ate. i haven't had a single craving like that the entire time while i've been on sb. maybe i just overdid the veggies and chickpeas and since i haven't had that many carbs all at once in a while it just triggered something. and if it did, it really scares me to think about what might happen in a few days once i start introducing more carbs into my diet :(

09-03-2010, 03:49 PM
A lot of restaurants add sugar or honey to salad dressings to make it 'stick' better to greens. Could that be it?

09-03-2010, 04:12 PM
no, i bought the salad for take-out and used my own dressing

09-03-2010, 04:59 PM
I'm not on South Beach anymore, largely because overdoing even "good carbs" can trigger hunger/cravings for me. I use an exchange plan, and try to choose my foods based on what I've learned from South Beach, Primal Blueprint and other carb-conscious books. I've also discoiverd that during PMS/TOM, I have to reduce carbs more drastically than during other times of the month.

This may not necessarily apply to you, but if it were me eating the salad you describe, the chick peas could trigger cravings/hunger especially if it happened to be fewer than 10 days until my period.

The cheese for me, could also be a problem (some cheeses are higher in carbs than others, and processed cheese can even include sugar).

Another possibility for me, would be too few calories in the salad. Hunger is a complex set of mental and physiological cues, so you can be satisfied in some ways and yet still legitimately feel hunger or cravings.

Large, low-calorie salads can fill my stomach before they satisfy other aspects of hunger. For me, that can mean symptoms of physiological hunger and low-blood sugar (such as irritability, headache, light-headedness...) or mental symptoms of hunger such as cravings (either for more food in general, or for carbs in particular).

For me, a meal has to have at least 400 calories to satisfy me for more than two hours. I sometimes do eat smaller meals and snacks, but there's a good chance that I'll be hungry again in 90 minutes or less.

Another possible trouble spot for me, is fat content. If a meal is too lean, I can get get the same "rabid hunger" that I associate with carb-excess. If your salad dressing was fat free, and there wasn't much cheese left, a salad like that could have triggered that kind of hunger for me. I'm not recommending huge amounts of fat, but a small amount of fat (35 - 90 calories per meal) can really make an incredible difference in hunger/craving-control for me. A small amount of nuts or avacado, or a tsp or two of olive oil in the dressing, using a whole egg rather than just the whites ... that would make a big difference for me.

09-03-2010, 06:24 PM
Looking at the rest of the day, I see 3 servings of a "milk" product. Even though they don't have any added sugar, I wonder if the lactose of all three caused the craving? Basically, before the salad, what you had was milk and nuts. Maybe something a little more "meat proteinish" would work in the a.m, like eggs, turkey,beans etc?

The salad probably was not the culprit, but the stuff you ate before the salad that was in your system already..

I know if I don't have something very protein/vegetably as my morning start, I have cravings all day long. I can't do grains in the morning either. For me, a green smoothie with added raw eggs and fruit/hemp protein etc starts me off well. Since you are in phase 1, try eating something like turkey/spinach/beans in the morning and see how that works for you. My other go to breakfast is a turkey/spinach sandwich..heavy on the spinach.

09-03-2010, 06:32 PM
I'm not doing South Beach, so I can't give you any diet-specific advice. Were you ok with the salad the first time you ate it? I try to do my own version of low carb, and I've found that salad always makes me want carbs. I can eat a meal of grilled meat and steamed veggies and not miss potatoes/pasta/rice/bread. But if I eat a salad, my body starts screaming for a dinner roll or crackers or something. It's really weird.

09-03-2010, 06:58 PM
I've found that salad always makes me want carbs. I can eat a meal of grilled meat and steamed veggies and not miss potatoes/pasta/rice/bread. But if I eat a salad, my body starts screaming for a dinner roll or crackers or something. It's really weird.

It's very interesting because we're all sooo different! My almost every day lunch is a big mixed up salad w/lots of veggies which satisfies me and never causes a craving, but I absolutely cannot eat oatmeal without heading out for a carb-fest.

I had several episodes of pretty strong cravings late into Phase 1, and always thought I was just "different". All the posters have given great suggestions. Perhaps it was just a passing thing or the next time this happens you may see some correlation.

Best wishes!

09-03-2010, 08:34 PM
thanks everyone for the responses!

when i ate the salad for dinner i was absolutely fine. the only difference between dinner and lunch was that i added chickpeas at lunch. kaplods might have a point in that there just wasn't enough protein and fat in the salad to balance out the carbs in the veggies. i probably ate more chicken out of the salad the night before without realizing it.

i don't think it was the "milk" products that i ate before lunch because that's pretty much been what i've been eating on a daily basis with absolutely no problems.

maybe lexxiss is right as well and that it was just some late phase 1 cravings.

09-03-2010, 10:27 PM
On another note, your menu doesn't list any veggies except salad at lunch. Are you eating more veggies? You need to try to eat veggies at each meal & get at least 4 cups daily. Then I'm usually to full to even consider overeating.

09-04-2010, 02:27 AM
Salad does the same for me. I don't know what it is -- maybe my body is like, um...hello? this totally needs a roll or something with it. you did the right thing by just ignoring it. eventually your body will give up.

Big Mama
09-04-2010, 09:57 AM
Same thing. If I eat e.g. a big pile of lettuce (even with the protein and fat incorporated in the meal), I'll want to eat again within an hour. Sometimes, I feel hungrier after I've finished a meal, than before I even started. :?: So weird. I usually "top it off" with a few almonds.

09-04-2010, 11:42 AM
oh thank goodness i'm not the only one. i was so worried that i was doomed to fail on sb. i figured that if a salad was able to cause my blood sugar levels to spike to the point of causing such cravings that there was no way i'd be able to survive once i started to incorporate higher GI carbs. at least now, there's some glimmer of hope that sb might still work for me. :dance: i just have to be really diligent in paying attention to what carbs...both good and to me and making mental notes of what i can and can't eat.

thanks again everyone! i think you just saved my diet! :hug:

09-04-2010, 12:17 PM
I was just thinking...salad never makes me crave carbs...but, I never use lettuce in salads, always spinach as a base. I wonder if the spinach keeps that from happening? I use a lot of avocado too which has a lot of fat...might have something to do with it?

Fat Melanie
09-04-2010, 12:54 PM
I use full-fat dressing on my salads (one serving of course) and incorporate lean protein and I put it all in a huge serving bowl so I always feel full from the salad. I also noticed that when I buy store-bought salads, they're smaller and I don't feel as full as I do when I make a home-made salad chock full of veggies.