Food Cravings: What Your Body is Telling You
We all experienced food cravings from time to time. You know – that taste for something sweet, salty, or creamy – that you just have to have.
Like many people trying to diet or control their weight, your life may revolve around either satisfying or suppressing your cravings. But, did you ever stop to consider that your body might be trying to tell you something?
Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our daily diet. Even fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in soil depleted of essential nutrients. Some say eating 100% raw and organic will give you everything you need.
Although I support a raw diet, it is neither convenient nor affordable for most people.
The Reason Behind the Food Craving
So, what are your food cravings really telling you? Here are a few of the most common cravings and the nutrients your body may need.
1. Chocolate => Magnesium
2. White Bread/Pasta => Chromium
3. Chips => Chloride and Omega-3s
4. Soda/Carbonated Drinks => Calcium
5. Coffee/Tea => Sulfur, Iron, Salt, or Phosphorus
6. Cheese => Omega-3s
The list goes on and on of what your body needs when you crave specific foods. If you crave something not on the list, a quick internet search will help you find the nutrients your body is truly craving – in a healthy form.
One of the easiest ways to get your essential nutrients is to take a quality multivitamin. Buying one at the local “Big Box” store won’t do. Look for a whole food vitamin at your local health food store or even online. I can assure you, you WILL feel a difference taking these nutrient rich, food based vitamins. Many times your food cravings will lessen or even disappear after just a few weeks on a multivitamin.
Food Craving Enemy #1: Sugar
Sugar is enemy number one! Recent research has shown that this white substance is even more addictive than cocaine!1 For millions of people, this addiction is the leading cause of their health issues. Whether it be diabetes, obesity, tooth decay — or even cancer — sugar robs you of your health!
Most sugar addicts have several health issues. Typically, they are tired most of the day and don’t sleep well. Many times they suffer with anxiety or depression.
There are several different issues that accompany sugar addictions: I’ve listed below the most common problems:
• Systemic Candida
• Adrenal Fatigue
• Insulin Resistance
It is also not uncommon to have ALL of these at the same time!
The Reason Behind Your Sugar Craving
Sugar is much more complex than other food cravings. There isn’t just one reason behind why you must have it. A great many things can contribute to sugar cravings.
The Feel Good Effect
The reason why sugar makes you “feel good” is more a side effect than a direct effect. When you eat sugar insulin is released into your system and binds with amino acids. Together, they go to muscles where it releases a small amino acid called tryptophan that travels quickly to the brain where it speeds the production of serotonin – the feel good hormone. So we naturally make a connection that sugar makes you feel good.
In fact, a recent scientific study revealed that overweight people increase consumption of sugary foods by when their tryptophan levels were depleted. (2)
Stress and Sugar Cravings
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that sugar craving tripled in response to increased stress hormone levels which leads to compulsive eating as well as other behaviors, such as taking drugs. (3)
Sugar has been found to fuel the production of endorphins in the brain that not only provides a pain-relieving quality but drives overwhelming cravings for more, not unlike those for other addictive chemicals like alcohol. This is why many women experience sugar cravings during their monthly cycle because that is when endorphin levels are at their lowest level.
Unhealthy Digestive System
An imbalance in the “good” bacteria that inhabits the intestinal tract can lead to overgrowth of yeast and fungi, both of which have high sugar requirements, causing increased sugar cravings. Food allergies and sensitivities can also cause blood sugar imbalances and the associated sugar cravings. Additionally, the immune response created by consuming allergenic foods causes its own form of immune system-mediated cravings. These digestive system-related sugar cravings can be reduced or eliminated by restoring bacterial balance and avoiding or treating for allergens.
How To Beat Sugar Cravings
Amazingly, all these conditions can be completely reversed!! It is as simple as – QUIT EATING SUGAR!! It sounds easier than done. But, if you can just buckle down and cut out “white” foods like sugar and refined carbs, your life will dramatically change! Your energy levels will rise dramatically and the extra weight will begin to start falling off!
The first week is usually the hardest. You may experience queasiness, headaches, mood swings, waves of fatigue in between bouts of the jitters. But, in addition to healthy diet of cruciferous vegetables, good fats and proteins, a thorough system cleanse with Ultimate Digestive Health will help relieve these ugly withdrawal symptoms.
1. Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH (2007) Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward.
2. “Eating Behaviors” Acute Tryptophan Depletion and Sweet Food Consumption by Overweight Adults; S.L. Pagato, et al; January 2009
3. Bitter Truth: Stress Drives Sugar Cravings University of Michigan Press 2006
4. Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake, Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel, 2007
Thank you so much for this article. This is the first time I’ve seen an article that relates cravings to mineral depletion in one’s diet. I’ve often thought and wondered that there was significant connection to this. I’ve thought so much of this I’m printing this off to be that reminder and adjustment of wake call to realize the impulse of those cravings true triggers.
this information is very helpful thanks,
I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO LOOSE WEIGHT FOR 10 YRS. THE ONLY THING THAT IS STOPPING ME IS SUGAR AND CHOCOLATE CRAVINGS IT’S SO HARD I HAVE YET TO BE SUGGESSFUL
Hi Nancy – Sugar and chocolate are insidious. Once you eat them, you start on a vicious cycle as your body demands that you consumer more. Just like cigarette, alcohol or drugs you just have to STOP! The first few days will be very tough…but by the end of the week, those cravings won’t be nearly do bad.
When the cravings do hit you drink a glass of water, chew some sugar-free gum, sip some sugar-free (Diet) juice, take lick a sugar-free Popsicle…anything sugar-free and low calorie that will take your focus off of or lessen the craving. (But don’t go for those sugar-free cookies, cakes or candies. They are loaded with calories and carbs that will wake up those cravings again).
I know many people say that sugar-free this or that is not good for you, but it is not as bad for you as real sugar. The point here is to break the sugar addiction cycle.
Just give it a week. Promise yourself that you won’t eat sugar or chocolate for one week. Grin and bear it and I think you’ve find that you will be nearly craving free by the end of that.
Let us know how you did!
(P.S. – Exercise is a GREAT way to shake those cravings. You don’t need to run a mile or go to the gym. A simple walk around the block will do the trick 🙂 )
Especially in light of this great information being shared, it is disappointing to say the least that as the host of this website, that you are promoting diet and sugar-free products. These are INFINITELY more damaging to our health and our bodies than normal sugar. Asapartame, the key ingredient in these diet and sugar-free products, is absolutely horrific. It’s disappointing that someone who seems to know so much about health and share it with others is naive to this.
I am fighting cancer naturaly and am doing quite well with a few items prepared properly from nature. I am off all white sugar but have been using pure maple syrup instead. I am kind of wondering though if it is just as bad. Thought I would ask. Thanks
This article has been very helpful to me. I’m going to give this “No Sweets for a Week” a try. Thanks for sharing.