"Craving influences what people eat and their body weight, but there are some components of our behavior and diet that we do have control over,"
Hunger influences whether people eat or not. But then, eating influences whether people are hungry or not. Similarly, consuming something which is addictive can and will lead to a craving of same, in turn to influence whether we consume it again, and again, and again...
The first one is free!
"A number of other factors, including genetics and eating behavior, are also involved."
Why don't you just say carbs and insulin, huh?
Anyways, in my low-carb booklet, I wrote that cravings and hunger are similar, so taking care of one will affect the other. In practice this means eating genuine food if you're craving some chocolate or something. Even if it doesn't do anything to the craving itself, at least when you jump into that box of chocolate, it's likely you won't eat it all just now. It's just an idea but I think there's something there.
The conditioned response bit, I'm not sure it makes sense. A conditioned response is "a response that is transferred from the second to the first of a pair of stimuli". But if I use my idea about cravings and hunger, then it makes some sense cuz that's one way to transfer the response from the craving/cake pair to the hunger/food pair. But then my idea also includes another idea which is that the consumption of the thing has a physiological effect, and this effect is what locks in the response. This means for a pair to effectively replace another, it must also have an effect. I mean, it can't just be "think about something else" cuz that's just gonna drive you crazy. No, instead the effect must be strong enough that the thought goes away with little or no effort.
OK, a kid wants something and bugs you to no end. You ain't got what he wants, so you offer something else instead. If it's good enough, he's gonna stop bugging you. If it ain't, well...