You remember that time you had that insatiable need for doughnuts? or that time you would kill for some tacos?Sometimes I really feel like I need to eat some seaweed. The point is, human bodies are weird, and cravings make no sense.
A craving can start from the tiniest inclinations towards a certain type of food, and grow into a nagging need that refuses to subside until you finally give in. The attempt of suppressing the need for a certain food only causes the desire to return more forcefully, fueling a vicious cycle of frustration and lack of satiation.
Oddly enough the best way to get rid of a craving is to indulge in it without judgement or caution. Healthy or unhealthy, unusual or just plain weird, here are 15 food cravings explained. Be warned, you’ll probably want to pop to the shops after reading this.
Slabs of the juicy grilled (boiled, baked or fried) red stuff are loaded with iron, protein and zinc. Iron deficiencies are all too common in the United States. If you’re in dire need of a burger, it’s probably because your blood is lacking these vital molecules. It’s also possible you may just be lacking carbs. Pair your juicy burger with spinach or a mix of greens to make it ultra nourishing.
Candy is filled with sugar, obviously. If you’re feeling tired, sluggish or weak alongside your craving for candy, you may need to think about your blood sugar. Your blood glucose has probably taken a nosedive for one reason or another. As a result, your body wants the quickest energy it can find – pure(ish) sugar. If your blood sugar is really low, slow-digesting carbs are a more permanent solution as your body goes through sugar very quickly, leaving you almost exactly where you started.
Melted on pizza or just eaten plain, cheese is great. It’s a fatty food, which isn’t a bad thing (phew); if anything, full-fat cheese is one of the healthiest kinds of fat. If you’re craving cheese, you may not be eating enough fats. You could also be in need of some vitamin D, which would explain its appeal on those dark, cold winter nights.
4. Chinese food
A craving very personal to me. It’s not completely clear why this craving is so intense, but as there is a lot of flavor in Chinese food and in particular sodium, if you’re craving General Tso’s, you are probably dehydrated.
Chocolate makes you happy! It’s science… kind of. Outside of the craving for sugar to alleviate fatigue and increase your blood sugar, chocolate is often given as a treat or reward, especially at an early age. Now you’re all grown up, you are always tempted to go for that emotional reward even though you’ve been told it’s bad for you. When you finally do that emotionally rewarding thing, that rewarding feeling is doubled. Added to the sugar crash, you feel twice as bad for eating chocolate. The cycle is hard to break, isn’t it?
Similar to chocolate, you’re probably feeling nostalgic or in a ‘treat yourself’ mood when you eat a cupcake, triggering those emotional rewards signals in your body. Remembering a birthday party or the time your mum made you some many a Sunday ago often makes you want one.
7. French fries
Fries are the body’s ultimate energy source. They’re a fried, crispy plate of carbs and fats, and they always taste like the bomb. As well as knowing they taste salty and delicious, your body knows that the plate of fries in front of it is going to give it a lot of energy. If you’re sleep deprived, overworked, stressed or otherwise taxed, you are more likely to crave this delicious energy reservoir. This is also the case when you let yourself go hungry for a long period of time, as your body wants as much energy as it can get from the next meal.
Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than chomping down on a crunchy slab of ice. Pagophagia is the word you’re looking for. It’s often a sign of a psychological upset such as stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a developmental disorder. If the latter two don’t apply, you could just be stressed out and in need of an outlet. Ice cravings could also be indicative of iron deficiency.
9. Ice cream
Though this seems counter-intuitive, the cool, creamy bites of ice cream could be a sign that your stomach is upset or you may be having trouble with your digestion. That need to pick out the ice cream in the freezer when you finish a large, dense meal is your body telling you that you may have heartburn and a lot of stomach acidity. Eating ice cream could do your digestion a favour.
Raise your hand if you love pasta! It is by far, the ultimate comfort food and (when used appropriately) can be really healthy with all those high-energy carbs. There’s a reason runners carb-load on the stuff before a big race. Rio Ferdinand once said he had for breakfast every day before a game. It’s nourishment for your body that lasts till the day after. If you’re craving it, you could be lacking nutrients or calories. Like cheese, in the winter your pasta cravings get especially strong as your body has to work harder to keep warm (even under all those layers). The reason you want all that pasta with a mountain of cheese is your body wanting to build up energy for the rest of the day. Plus, you can bet that pasta knows it’s delicious.
11. Peanut Butter
The irresistibility of peanut butter is the reason single serving packets are so popular, despite the upcharge. For consumers, the portion control is worth the price, otherwise, if you’re like me, your PB&Js are a little on the excessive side. Though you think a low-fat diet would be the culprit behind your craving, a low-carb diet is actually more likely to cause one. When you restrict yourself from carbs, you crave sweets. When you don’t allow yourself sweet foods, peanut and almond butter start to taste sweeter. Paleo and Whole 30 dieters often report binges on various types of nut butter, but it can come from just a general lack of carbs in your diet.
This crunchy snack is high in sodium, flavor and probiotics. If you’re dying to chomp down on some gherkin, you could be in need of one or all of those things. A lack of sodium may also mean you are dehydrated. When you eat more sodium and then drink water, you’re better able to absorb it. Pickles are great for your gut health and digestion too.
Soda, especially diet soda, is loaded with chemicals. Chemicals can be notorious for triggering cravings; in fact, they are made to mess with your body chemistry a little. The sweeter-than-sugar sweeteners and toxic preservatives could contribute to a growing urge for that dehydrating drink. The caffeine especially contributes to the addictive feel a can of Coke, Pepsi or Mountain gives you. As a result, if you’re craving soda, it’s because you’ve developed a habit of drinking soda.
14. Spicy food
As we know, spicy food is hot, and if you’re craving it though you may be too. Counterintuitively, spicy food cools you down once you eat it. You sweat more, and the sweat evaporating off your skin has a cooling effect. That explains why you’re craving heat in the heat. If it’s not that, you are probably having problems with your metabolism in some way or other. This could come from a thyroid imbalance, or it could be from one too many sugary snacks. Regardless, spicy food gives your metabolism the jolt to life it’s been craving. Eating something with spice has a full-body effect, and even releases endorphins. It’s possible your body just needed to feel the rush.
As we know, alcohol is addictive. But if you’re not prone to a nasty drinking habit, you might just be stressed out. Wine has antioxidants in it that make it surprisingly good for you, and we’ve been conditioned over time to find a glass of it soothing. In fact, studies show that one glass is relaxing and two can actually be quite stressful. There’s nothing wrong with helping your body out with a glass after work – just as long as it’s one glass a day.
In conclusion, cravings aren’t all that bad, you guys. Let’s take the negative label off these food, and it will no longer possess that forbidden fruit quality that made the food so attractive in the first place. Be cautious, everyone, and remember: everything is good in moderation.