What Are Your Cravings Trying To Tell You? A Nutrition Coach Explains
Stop the binging! We find out what your body really wants, whether it's salty, sweet or greasy food you're after.
Sweet or savoury; that is the question. Whatever your answer, when a craving attacks it can be pretty damn hard to ignore. But what is your body really after when it’s hankering for that block of Dairy Milk or multi-pack of Tayto?
“Our bodies rarely do something for no reason,” says nutrition coach Lyda Borgsteijn, “Think of them as a message or signal. It’s one of the best ways your body can tell you it needs something.” The problem? “The food you crave may fit the bill for the craving but not the actual nutrient you are in desperate need of.” Damn.
That means, if you’re craving something sweet and you scoff a double chocolate brownie for example, you’ll have consumed a stack load of calories but not satisfied what your body actually wants. In turn that’ll lead to even more eating.
So what’s the remedy? Understanding your craving is the first way to make sure you satisfy it properly.
Lyda breaks it down…
1. If you’re craving salty food…
Can’t resist salt and vinegar crisps? “Craving salty food can be the result of a number of reasons but it can be as simple as that you have changed your diet recently and unknowingly lowered your salt intake and your body is just struggling to adjust,” Lyda explains. “You may have a slight mineral deficiency or you may be dehydrated and thus require some salt to bring your electrolytes back in balance.”
To deal with it, “add the following to your diet for some balance: Try organic cheese, unsalted cottage cheese, fish, sweet potatoes, spinach, and authentic sea salt, and make sure to drink plenty of water daily.”
2. If you’re craving sugary food…
It’s 3pm and you’re craving a bar of chocolate and a can of coke like it’s nobody’s business. “The good news,” says Lyda, “is that it’s not all your fault! Research has proven that sugar is addictive.”
But that doesn’t let you off the hook completely. “The need for something sweet can be a signal that you aren’t feeding your body properly for reasons that include stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, too much caffeine, gut flora imbalance or just skipping meals and being hungry.”
The reason you’re lusting after that chocolate brownie? “When you’re stressed, sleep deprived or just hungry, your brain starts to send out distress signals for quick sources of energy,” Lyda explains. “Low and behold sugar fits this bill perfectly, providing that quick hit and energy spike. Sadly this spike is followed by an equally quick dip and the craving sets in again.”
So how can you avoid the sugar binge?
“Instead of eating lots of chocolate, get your magnesium from raw nuts and seeds and fruits,” suggests Lyda, “and keep your blood sugar in balance with whole slow energy grains like rye, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, oats and rice.” Got it.
3. If you’re craving greasy food…
“Fat is essential to human nutrition, especially omega 3 and 6 fatty acids,” Lyda explains. “Good fats and oils are a great source of energy, provide a source of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) and are very much needed in the production of various hormones. Craving greasy food can simply indicate an essential fatty acid deficiency so eating more good quality fats is the simple and effective answer. Look to add good fats to your daily diet such as fish, olive oil, nuts, butter, cream, eggs.”