Why Do We Crave?
What foods do you crave? Chocolate? Bread? Ice cream? Chips?
According to a study reported in the Journal of Nutrition, most people have food cravings - 97% of women and 68% of men. Cravings are not about being hungry; they are the irresistible urge to eat regardless of hunger. If we craved vegetables and fruits it wouldn’t be a problem, but food cravings typically involve sugary or salty or refined foods – junk foods. Unless you are pregnant, cravings are not a healthy sign. They reflect a body out of balance.
The key to dealing with cravings is to understand their underlying reasons. There are many reasons for cravings, falling into two categories – emotional and physical. Doreen Virtue, PhD, author of “Constant Cravings” notes there are many emotional causes for cravings such as:
· Unmet needs for fun – too much work, not enough play
· Boredom – too many evenings at home during our long Canadian winters
· Stress, impatience – we just had a row with your teenager or spouse
· Emptiness, insecurity, or a desire for comfort - foods become the comfort, hence the term “comfort foods”
In my holistic nutrition practice, I see clients who are resigned to their cravings and say: “Oh, I’m just weak willed.” They are surprised to learn that physical-based cravings are as common as emotional-based ones.
Causes of physical-based cravings:
· Metabolic dysfunction – hypoglycemia or low blood sugar often triggers sugar cravings
· Malnourishment – low quality food does not provide needed nutrients. The body still needs those nutrients and to ensure needs are met the body has a craving response.
· Food sensitivities – foods to which we are sensitive are often the very foods that we crave
With so many possible reasons for cravings, it can be a challenge to unravel the underlying causes. There is often more than trigger. To resist or eliminate cravings, it is crucial to understand their cause(s).
A Holistic Nutrition Consultation will help you identify the source of cravings, whether emotional and/or physical, and provide dietary and lifestyle steps to eliminate them. Find out how Health E Guide can help you: