Why Do You Crave Ice-Cream or Cake After Eating Dinner?

Why Do You Crave Ice-Cream or Cake After Eating Dinner?

Behind this question is even a bigger question: How does short term overconsumption of food translate into long term obesity, especially when it comes to real life and NOT inside a metabolic ward study? Also, what are the behavioral dynamics that play into our daily routines that cause us to overconsume foods? Here's a study that sheds light into this matter.



In this study (1), participants had to consume a certain amount of chocolate milk and then half the participants were told to play a game to obtain either more chocolate milk while the other half could obtain crisps by playing the game. Participants, in general, showed a decline in subjective liking of taste and smell of the chocolate milk in comparison to crisps. They also showed less motivation to obtain chocolate milk. This is a result of sensory specific satiety that occurs which is a temporary decline in pleasure derived from consuming a certain food in comparison to another unconsumed food. Over time, most people stop craving the food item completely as it offers diminishing pleasure!

The results of this study can be seen everywhere anecdotally. After the turkey loading during Thanksgiving, the last thing anyone wants to eat is more turkey. After eating a copious amounts of french fries or cake, the last thing we want is french fries or cake, respectively. However, what we do want after eating cake, is either a different type of cake or some crisps or something slightly or vastly different from the last thing we ate. This is also the reason why we find it easy to overconsume at buffets. This combination seems to be one of the major causes of what's causing obesity in our country.



Speculating and triangulating, it makes sense that humans were not building colorful rainbows on their plates when it comes to consuming foods. The evolving man wasn't concerned about the diversity of foods. It's rather hypocritical when "real food" advocates put the blame on processed foods but are tather ok with recipe books laden with obesogenic sauces, cake/pizza/ice-cream alternatives, cheesy breads and promote endless diversity of foods. Most dietary protocols seem to emphasize the pleasure components but forget to bring in the limitations which leads to an epic failure down the road. The evolving man, instead of focusing on the next recipe he was going to concoct, was probably worried about a bigger problem: how to find food AT ALL!

An important caveat to note here is that these rules don't apply to extremely low energy foods such as leafy greens, zero calorie drinks and various other high fiber, high water content or high filler foods that have very little to no impact on the composition of the body due to their low energy load or distastefulness(eww... greens!). These individual food groups could have potential issues(eg. bloating, gastric digestion etc.) on their own but that's a topic on its own. With that being said, the sensory specific satiety mechanism could be a powerful tool to incorporate foods that have a caloric load attached to them. This can help promote metabolic efficiency and dietary adherence, the latter which can be quite the killer of a diet, while still enjoying tasty and delicious foods on the go!


When it comes to high energy processed foods, they can either be used as a great tool to liberate oneself from the shackles of perpetual enslavement in the kitchen or grocery store or can be used to make ourselves obese. The way you can use such foods constructively is find specific foods that you enjoy, are healthy and relevant to your diet and stick with them. The problem seems to come when we are constantly seeking novel variety of high energy foods (2) but once we stick to a dietary routine of some good foods we like(disregarding if they are processed or not), this could allow us to limit our energy overload substantially by invoking sensory specific satiety.

Final takeaway: Find healthy and relevant foods you enjoy and stick with them. That's how we tell people to use our Energy Pods.



Fahad is the founder of Ketogeek and hosts the Ketogeek Podcast, a world class health show about food, nutrition and health. He is into resistance training, Ashtanga yoga, calisthenics and various forms of training styles. Armed with a idealistic goals distilled in a world of realism, his goal is to help the world make a better place. He leads a life of extreme generalism or as he describes it, 'The Renaissance Lifestyle'.


It never ceases to amaze me how prosaic, pedestrian, unimaginative people can persistently pontificate about classical grammatical structure as though it's fucking rocket science. These must be the same people who hate Picasso, because he couldn't keep the paint inside the lines and the colors never matched the numbers.”
― Abbe Diaz