Nutrition & Dieting/Coca-cola

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Question
Hi! I'm an 18 year old female HS track runner. I run 25-30 miles per week. I eat a pretty well balanced diet, and only drink sugary drinks on rare occasions. I do not drink any sort of coffee or tea at all. My problem is that I sometimes get intense cravings for Coca-cola after a workout. I only crave coke, never anything else, despite the fact that I almost never drink soda. What could be a reason for these cravings? Thanks!

Answer
Hi Dev,

Sounds like you are in great shape and doing the right things :)

The simple answer is, Coca-cola rewards the pleasure center in your brain. There's no way to really tell whether it's because it's thirst-quenching, sweet, or contains caffeine. Many people find drinks like this to be "addictive" because they experience strong cravings, and the more they drink the more they want it.
To make it worse, if you often give in to that craving after a workout, your brain will start to connect the actions [work out ends] + [time for coke] and you will continue to have that urge to drink coke after a work out. Similar to [movie = popcorn] or [baseball game = hot dogs] or [finishing dinner = dessert], the brain just learns to connect these actions and then expect them, whether you want to crave them or not!

It's not harmful to have a coke once in a while, so it's not a problem to have a coke after a workout; just be aware that the more you do it, the harder it might be to stop if you would like to stop one day.

Nutrition & Dieting

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Laurie Beebe, MS, RD, LD

Expertise

As a registered dietitian (RD)I am fully qualified to accurately answer questions regarding weight loss, including those from people with health conditions requiring dietary restrictions (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) who want to lose weight, or who have been advised to do so by their physician.

Experience

I have been a registered dietitian for over 30 years and have a certificate in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration at Level 1 and Level 2. I am also trained in coaching through Coach U and currently work as a diet coach to help people lose weight the healthy way, through gradual habit changes.

Organizations
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group, Nutrition Entreprenuers, St.Louis International Coach Federation, Toastmasters

Publications
Livestrong.com, Glamour.com, Ezinearticles.com, Ehow.com, Today's Dietitian

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida, 1983; Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University 1985; Certificate in Adult Weight Management 2006; CoachU core essentials grad 2007; Level 2 certificate in Adult Weight Management 2010.

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