All of Your Food Cravings Explained

Woman Indulging In Unhealthy Food

By Rayiah Ross

Sometimes the human body can be very weird. One second you want a burger, and the next, you’re eating a box of chocolates. The word “cravings” should not be defined as a lack of willpower; in fact, your cravings can be related to anything from inadequate nutrition to imbalances in weight loss.  Cravings mean that the body has its signals mixed up. According to the Women’s Health Network, Hormonal imbalance or weak digestion can lead to low serotonin. Low blood sugar or low serotonin sends a signal to the brain that it needs a pick-me-up–that causes a craving for sugar or carbohydrates. You feel good for a little while, but almost as quickly, you “crash” and return to your low-serotonin state. Ironically, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it because overconsumption of sugar can lead to insulin resistance. It’s a downward spiral that dieting will make even worse.

Surveys conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center found that nearly 100 percent of females and 70 percent of males experienced a food craving in 2017. Although being most prominent in women, cravings affect everyone in its own unique way. In an interview with dietitian Shira Lenchewski, she gave Byrdie a list of common food cravings and what they mean:


  • If You’re Craving Chocolate…


You could be lacking magnesium in your diet, says Lenchewski. “Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in energy production, glucose metabolism, and muscle function. This is especially true for those hitting the gym hard.” Instead, reach for high-quality, low-sugar dark chocolate, which is naturally high in magnesium.


  • If You’re Craving Candy…


“Craving pure sugar is a good indication that you’re running low on energy,” says Lenchewski. “Two options that make for great pick-me-ups the next time you’re craving candy: a sliced apple with your choice of nut butter, or berries with 2% unsweetened Greek yogurt.”


  • If You’re Craving Salt…


“If nothing but the saltiest pickle will do, you may not be drinking enough H2O,” says Lenchewski. “Salt helps the body hold on to water, so we crave it when we’re in need of fluids.” The next time a craving hits, try quenching it with a few refreshing glasses of water.


  • If You’re Craving Starch…


“Because high-carb foods boost the feel-good hormone serotonin, starch cravings can be a sign you’re in need of a mood booster,” says Lenchewski. Breathe, meditate, listen to music, or take a hot bath to activate your body’s relaxation response. Relaxation helps to balance your blood sugar and reduce cravings.


  • If You’re Craving Ice Cream…


“Your body may be telling you it’s in need of some healthy fat,” says Lenchewski. “For ice-cream emergencies, I recommend lower-in-sugar coconut ice-creams.”


  • If You’re Craving A Burger…


“If you can’t stop thinking about red meat, there’s a chance your body is craving iron, b12 and folic acid,” says Lenchewski. “Try experimenting with an open-faced bison burger—which, cut for cut, is leaner and has more iron than beef.” Don’t eat meat? Try to incorporate some kind of plant-based iron supplement into your routine, like spirulina.

Simply put, there is always a better option than the food you’re about to pick up and eat, but don’t forget to indulge every once and awhile. Oh yeah, and never go to the grocery store when you’re  hungry.

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