", It's gooey, it's fatty and it's delicious, but an overly strong craving for cheese could very well be your body asking to get an added boost of calcium or vitamin D. As Elizabeth Narins, Fitness and Health Editor of Cosmopolitan, explains, "It's not uncommon to eat insufficient amounts of these nutrients. Another health condition that could leave you craving salty foods is Addison’s disease, which is a form of adrenal insufficiency. The researchers noted that switching from controlled sleep deprivation to an adequate sleep schedule caused the participants to lose weight, indicating that the increase in sleep quantity brought their hormones back into balance. If you commonly crave acidic foods like lemons, limes, citrus, or vinegary foods, you could be low in stomach acid. Thermogenesis is described as "one important method of staying warm and is most often seen in hibernating animals." Those who chewed gum rated themselves less hungry, had fewer cravings for snacks, and felt fuller than those who did not chew gum. Food cravings can really pack a wallop. A desire for red meat may come on so strong that you veer off the highway in search of a burger joint. Maintaining a regular eating pattern, such as eating several small meals throughout the day, may help some people avoid hunger-induced cravings. There are two types of food cravings: selective and nonselective. What's more, "chocolate is also metabolized to serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone so cravings can also be related to an emotional need." When it comes to stress, B-vitamin rich foods are essential, so get your fill of nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. How is this possible? If you're often tempted by such cravings, consider indulging on "cheats days" and giving one of these healthy snack alternatives a try at other times. As Nicole Osinga, a registered dietician, told Huffington Post, sugars actually "signal the body to release serotonin, which boosts your mood." Emotions can also contribute to food cravings, such as in cases of comfort eating. If the food you crave is chewy or crunchy, "something you smash your teeth down on," Spangle says, you're experiencing head hunger. But, spicy food makes you sweat which will help if you're feeling overheated. (Here are 8 things you definitely didn't know about what your food cravings mean… Last medically reviewed on December 10, 2020, It is possible to enjoy healthful snacks and lose weight. Ever wonder what your food cravings mean? Many of us attribute these cravings to poor self-control. What are the most healthful nuts you can eat. Craving Spicy? A desire for red meat may come on so strong that you veer off the highway in search of a burger joint. Stress may also cause weight gain even without food cravings. If you choose to dig in, Georgiou suggests reaching for the darkest chocolate you can find, one that's boasting a high percentage of cacao, as that variety will have the least sugar. Learn more here. Cravings can mean a number of things including emotions and a specific nutrient deficiency. Having said that, I want to offer you a reframe (a different way of looking at the same situation) about cravings. Can a smile reduce the pain of an injection? A 2011 study found a small but significant difference in sweet and salty snack consumption between people who chewed gum and those who did not. If you’re craving: sweets and carbs The sweet taste is considered the most nourishing of all and is said to benefit the stomach and spleen. For example, some experts think that craving large amounts of ice and nonfood substances, such as laundry starch and dirt or clay (a condition called pica), are linked to an iron or zinc deficiency, though there's not enough research to support a cause and effect relationship. In situations such as these, people can try to form new habits. The “comfort food” habit can decrease a person’s overall health. Try loading up on "dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.". This rather odd craving is known as 'pica', which refers to a strong desire to eat things with no nutritional value, such as ice cubes. Hunger and thirst can produce very similar sensations, potentially leading people to confuse the feeling of thirst for hunger. Some nutritionists and healthcare providers believe that certain cravings are meaningful. Eat this: Black beans, walnuts, goji berries or seaweed. Read on to learn what craving salt may mean for … As Reader's Digest suggests, craving extremely hot, spicy foods could be your body's way of trying to deal with high temperatures. An intense craving for any food (but usually treats) is often mistaken as hunger when in reality it may mean you’re dehydrated. Below are some of the most common snacks that people crave and suggestions of alternatives: Most people experience food cravings from time to time. Selective cravings are cravings for specific foods, such as a person’s favorite chocolate bar, a particular burger from their favorite restaurant, or a bag of potato chips of a certain flavor. Take carbs like bread, biscuits and sweet treats, for example – eating them has a calming effect and boosts levels of the good-mood brain chemical serotonin, which is just what your body craves when you’re feeling down or stressed out. This imbalance may contribute to overeating and weight gain. Dying for a big bag of salt and vinegar chips? 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