Decode Your Cravings

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

When you just HAVE to eat a piece of chocolate, a salty potato chip or a decadent cupcake, you may be more than hungry. Your body may be using these powerful cravings as a signal, telling you that something isn’t quite right””whether it be a food allergy, blood sugar imbalance or nutrient deficiency. Let’s discover some of the hidden meanings behind the most popular cravings:


1.    Chocolate: Most of us have pined for a piece of chocolate. But did you know that people (especially women) who constantly crave chocolate may be deficient in magnesium and B vitamins? Such a deficiency can cause fatigue and poor mood, something that may be only temporarily fixed by the endorphin-releasing powers of chocolate.

2.    Salt: This is my personal weakness, and my salt cravings are probably due to the fact that I eat too much of it. Not getting enough, however, can have the same effect. Salt cravings can also be caused by a calcium deficiency, as sodium temporarily increases blood calcium levels. Low levels of potassium and iron can also have a similar effect.

3.    Sugar: This is a very common craving. Like salt, consuming too much sugar can lead you to crave more. It may also be a sign of blood sugar imbalance.

4.    Spices: There are a few possible causes of this one. First, you may have dulled your taste buds from years of spicy fare, causing you to need more and more of it to get the same kick. Or you may have become addicted to the spicy rush””rapid heart rate, blood pressure spike, etc. Another possibility? Your body is searching for a way to curb pain or inflammation.

5.    Starch: Low levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects mood, sleep and weight, can cause cravings for potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods. 

6.    Meat: Ever had a hankering for steak? Your body may be telling you to get more amino acids. Protein or meat cravings can also be a sign of iron (or other mineral) deficiency. 

7.    Water: An extreme thirst likely signals that your body is low in electrolytes and other minerals. It may also be a warning sign of diabetes””it’s a good idea to visit your doctor if you can’t quite quench your thirst.

8.    Wheat: Amazingly, our bodies can crave the very foods we’re allergic to. Wheat and dairy are common food allergies, as well as common cravings. If you’re allergic and consume them, your body may release hormones to counteract the reaction, giving you a temporary “high.” Don’t be fooled! If you suspect a food allergy, try an exclusion diet, and get tested by your doctor.