What Do Food Cravings Really Mean?

Because we need a legit excuse for eating the whole block.

Food cravings
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I have a frequent craving for corn chips. It turned on like a tap a few years ago and hasn’t switched off. It’s not all day, every day, but it’s often enough for alarm.

At first, I thought I might be pregnant … perhaps it was going to be my thing. But since I’ve never been to Mexico—it seemed unlikely. So with that ruled out, I turned to the experts. OK, I Googled it, and here’s what I found.

There is a lot of contention around whether food cravings are symptomatic of nutritional deficiencies. One article suggested that we are programmed to equate the taste of breast milk—being sweet and fatty—with love and nurture as babies. As we get older, we crave these foods when we need these things. A study by the University of Arizona drew a parallel between chocolate and drugs. It stated that “chocolate’s sensory characteristics, nutrient composition, and psychoactive ingredients” combined with “monthly hormonal fluctuations and mood swings among women” make chocolate so hard to resist. And others write it off altogether.

Regardless of your standpoint, speak to any woman, and she’ll tell you that cravings are real. So how did we ever stand a chance between breast milk as babies and hormones as adults?
So to help you get to the bottom of your cravings, we spoke to the nutritionist, Lola Berry, and enlisted the help of Bernard Jensen’s (Ph.D.) research in The Chemistry Of Man. Here’s what they had to say.

What Do Your Food Cravings Mean?

Craving Salty food

sodium and salt
Image: iStock

You may be lacking in…

Jensen suggests a craving for salty foods is indicative of a chloride deficiency, while Berry believes it could be linked to low calcium or minerals.

Try this instead…

  • Jensen: Raw goats milk, fish, celery, and kelp
  • Berry: Dairy products, kale, and broccoli

Craving Sweets

healthy chocolate recipes
Image: iStock

You may be lacking in…

  • Jensen: Chromium, phosphorous, sulfur, or tryptophan
  • Berry: Sweet cravings are often associated with low protein diets.

Try this instead…

  • Jensen: broccoli, chicken, liver, turkey, collard, green vegetables, sweet potato, nuts, or fruit
  • Berry: Beans, meat, nuts, and eggs

Craving Chocolate

A Dairy-Free Pistachio & Rose Jelly White Chocolate Bar Recipe
Image Bondi Harvest

You may be lacking in…

Both Berry and Jensen agree that a craving for chocolate could be a sign of low magnesium.

Try this instead…

Nuts, seeds, and legumes…or stick to dark chocolate.

Craving oily, fatty foods

Food cravings
Photo by Robin Stickel on Unsplash

You may be lacking in…

  • Jensen: Calcium
  • Berry: If it’s after a big night out, it could be linked to your liver.

Try this instead…

  • Jensen: Dairy products, sesame seeds, kale, and broccoli
  • Berry: Avocado, nuts, fish, and eggs

Craving carbohydrates

How To Decrease Your Chances Of Developing Food Intolerances
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

You may be lacking in…

Both Berry and Jensen agree that carbs cravings could be due to a lack of protein in the diet. Often vegans and vegetarians will crave sweet carbs because their protein intake is much lower.

Try this instead…

Beans, meat, nuts, and eggs

Top tips for curbing cravings:

  • Adequate sleep
  • Mindful eating is essential! Before you eat something, check in: do I really want this? If so why?
  • Tune in and listen to your body
  • Try these 11 tips from Lee Holmes.

Deep Sleep Support

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