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: