I have the habit of munching something throughout the day and I’m trying to eat less often. Is it OK to replace cravings with herbal teas? 

While herbal tea can be a part of a healthy diet, your reason for drinking it would decide whether it is OK or not. If you find that going for a cup of tea helps you curb snacking when you’re not really hungry, then it may be a good thing. However, if you are drinking tea instead of eating when your body needs food, you may not be getting the necessary nutrients and fuel for energy. Additionally, you may be famished when it’s time for meals and so it could be more difficult to make balanced food choices. 

People eat for a variety of reasons including hunger, boredom and stress, so being aware of your body, emotions and state of mind can help you determine whether you need a snack, a meal, or just a cup of tea. If you find you’re eating due to stress or boredom rather than hunger, a cup of tea could be an emotionally comforting alternative. Tea won’t, however, change the causes behind your food cravings. 

If you prefer to have snacks throughout the day rather than large meals, eating multiple smaller meals every day can provide benefits over eating a large quantity of food a few times per day, depending on what food is being consumed. A healthy eating plan includes a wide variety of foods including different fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy, legumes, lean meats, fish, poultry and heart-healthy foods. 

What is food addiction and is it as difficult to overcome as the other ones?

Researchers have found that there’s not enough evidence yet that an addiction to food falls into the same diagnostic category as substance use disorders. Food addiction is quite complicated because the boundaries of normal and disordered eating are difficult to sort out and the concept of addiction is tricky to pin down. In the case of other addictions a healthcare provider usually evaluates whether a person’s behaviour meets several criteria before diagnosing her/him.

The biggest difference between the two is that a substance addiction is a diagnosable condition whereas food addiction is not. Now this doesn’t mean there’s no hope for people who feel like their eating behaviour is out of control. Each person’s relationship with food is different and complex. If you experience something like this, there could be a physical or psychological reason and it might be useful to consult a healthcare provider, mental health professional, or registered dietician.