26 Oct what cravings really mean…
Cravings can come in many forms: salty, sweet, spicy, fatty fried foods…cravings definitely have a way of potentially derailing our eating goals for the day, but are all cravings created equal? Cravings may be our body’s way of indicating that our nutritional needs are not being met. Cravings, also shaped by daily factors such as emotional states and hormone fluctuations, can be a great source of information about our body’s needs. Understanding the root of your cravings will help you learn to manage them and to distinguish when to indulge and when to try something else.
The number one rule when it comes to cravings is to distinguish a food craving from dehydration. Often when our bodies become even slightly dehydrated this will manifest as thirst. Try drinking a large glass of water and see if your cravings diminish – you may simply be thirsty! Many of us fail to reach the quota of water a day; increasing your water intake may help you lose weight and is crucial for maintaining good health and eliminating toxins from the body. The rule of thumb we use is to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces. A 140 pound person should target 70 ounces of water (tea and broth count).
Diets that are low in variability (particularly among fruits and vegetables) may lack for certain nutrients. There is a theory that the craving for chocolate, separate from sweets, indicates a magnesium deficiency since chocolate is a good source of the mineral. Cravings for red meat also may indicate an iron deficiency. Our bodies are smarter than we think! Prehistoric man also evolved to search out the quickest sources of energy when resources were scarce or they were under pressure from internal or external threats.
When we let ourselves get anxious, fatigued, or overly hungry we are programed to crave the quickest-energy sources we can find which are often fatty foods, sugar and other forms of carbohydrates. This also applies when we are feeling down or having a bad day – our bodies want a boost in the pleasure-seeking centers of the brain which comes from eating high carbohydrate foods and foods which have a high sugar to fat ratio.
Cravings are just another example of how sometimes you need to listen to your body and react to what it’s saying. The next time you feel yourself craving something out of the blue, think about where this feeling is coming from. You may find yourself simply tired, overly stressed, down spirited, thirsty, or simply bored – all conditions you can manage in healthier ways. NOTE: Some days we really might just want a double chocolate peanut butter milkshake – and that’s perfectly fine too.
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