Have you ever encountered an intense, urgent and overwhelming desire to have something? Yes we’re talking about those annoying things called cravings. The cravings occur daily and more intense situations are linked to the cravings that come about when you want certain types of foods.
There is a common belief that cravings are caused by a deficiency of foods with certain types of nutrients. Others believe the cravings come up as a result of your mental status. This means that cravings result from what the mind wants rather than the belief that suggests the body is the one that yearns for satisfaction.
In this article, we will explore whether the deficiency of specific nutrients in the body largely contribute to these cravings for food or not.
The Connection between Nutrient Deficiencies and Cravings
Many people believe that when a body lacks a certain nutrient, it reacts by creating a desire to have the nutrient. The lack of the specific nutrient makes the body eat to fill the gap by directing the thoughts subconsciously towards the food required.
The belief that certain minerals lacking in the body cause cravings has been supported by individuals who eat chocolate to up their magnesium levels in the body and those who eat protein to up calcium and iron levels in the body.
When you meet the craving need, it has been observed to be a healthy way of keeping the body full with the required nutrients making it fit to function. Therefore, nutritionists recommend the intake of foods that stop the craving, as well as help the body to perform its roles in the best way.
Nutrient Deficiencies That Cause Cravings
When there is insufficient supply of certain nutrients in the body, it might lead to intense craving.
Have you ever had the craving for non-nutrient foods such as ice cream, soil, dirt, cornstarch among others? This is a clear indicator that you are lacking a specific nutrient in the body. This condition is called Pica. It is seen often in pregnant women and children. The real cause of pica is unknown. More studies are underway to find the cause.
Lack of nutrients and minerals is linked to pica and if the deficient minerals are supplied, the craving lowers. Some studies showed positive improvement in the cravings when the supplement was provided while others didn’t show any improvement.
2. Deficiency of Sodium
Fluid is important in the body and maintaining its balance is essential. Therefore, sodium plays the role of ensuring the fluid balance is maintained. If you are craving foods with high sodium, this could mean that your body has sodium deficiency. If sodium levels are low in the body through different activities, this calls for eating foods rich in sodium.
Note that cravings for sodium can happen if you have conditions that cause your body to eat foods high in sodium. In this case, when the craving comes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your sodium is insufficient and unnecessary salt can actually be harmful to your health.
Should We Fully Link Deficiencies To Food Cravings?
While there is more and more evidence to prove the contribution of certain deficiencies to cravings, there are also studies that come out to dispute the linking of deficiencies in minerals to cravings.
Gender and Cravings
The tendency toward cravings appears to be gender-specific as women seem to deal with cravings twice as much as men. Women also experience a lot of cravings towards sweet foods unlike men who yearn for savory foods. The deficiencies of nutrients that result in cravings are supported by inadequate intake of foods that add value to the body minerals.
In men, the cravings for savory foods show inadequate supply of magnesium. The researchers do not have enough evidence to prove the claim of gender and craving claims so more needs to be done to make the point real and factual. Since men and women experience different percentages of craving, it’s assumed that craving is influenced by the gender.
Cravings and Nutrient Supply
The nutrients deficiency theory suggests that those with low levels of the required nutrients are likely to experience extreme cravings for food to meet the craving urge. Recent evidences show the contrary. When a woman is pregnant, the need for nutrients supply doubles as a result of the baby. In contrary, women will crave foods with a high carb count when pregnant.
More food cravings will occur during the early stages of pregnancy and this doesn’t show the increased need for caloric foods. Many studies conducted show that the opposite happens when it comes to nutrients deficiency and the real time the nutrients are required.
Specific and Nutrient Low Food Cravings
Cravings are associated with the required food type. When it comes to nutrients supplied to the body, the kind of food craved for might not meet the required nutrients for the body. This makes it hard to link the craving to a certain nutrient deficiency as most fat foods are craved for and they don’t necessarily supply the deficient nutrients.
Those who crave to add magnesium in the body should not only crave to have chocolate but also nuts that are essential to the supply of food in the body. It’s evident that cravings will not necessarily supply the required nutrient in the body.
Other Causes for Your Intense Cravings
The belief that cravings are caused by the deficiency of certain minerals in the body is being challenged. There is however other way in which cravings can be associated to factors like the social, psychological and physical factors. The following are some factors that have been researched and found to have impact on the craving question.
If you watch movies while eating popcorn or nuts, the next time you find yourself in a movie theater, you are more likely to experience the craving as a result of where you are at, your context.
1. Thought Suppression
If you have a belief certain foods are forbidden, the craving intensifies whenever you come across the food. Let’s face it, you will probably experience the cravings when the food is not even close by.
2. Acute Stress
When under stress, hormones direct you toward craving certain foods to lower the stress.
Negative and positive moods cause different types of cravings. Comfort foods are eaten when you are dealing with something that affects your mood or when you are getting over a hurdle.
4. Lack of Good Sleep
Too little sleep causes a disturbance in hormonal levels which ends up giving you a craving for certain foods.
5. Poor Supply of Water
Insufficient intake of water and other drinks might drive you to crave certain foods.
6. Low Protein/Fiber
Both protein and fiber reduce the hunger level (by making you feel fuller) and if one of them or both of them are inadequate, cravings will increase.
Easy Ways to Reduce Cravings
Thus far we’ve talked about ways in which cravings comes about. Let’s talk now about some easy ways you can actually reduce cravings. First, you should drink enough water and other drinks to ensure the body is hydrated.
Nutritious meals are also encouraged to enable the body to get the protection needed. This aids in suppressing the cravings for food. Getting the right amount of sleep and engaging in self-care activities can reduce stress levels which is one of the main causes of cravings.
You should engage in activities that keep your body active and make sure you sleep at least six hours. Take time to note the events that bring about your craving as this could help in finding a solution for your problem. If you discover that you have a tendency to experience mood problems, try exercising instead of eating comfort foods.
If you have a persisting craving, find a suitable way to indulge your mind as you accept the craving. Food addiction is another problem that needs to be treated if that is what you are dealing with.
If you have experienced craving problems before and you weren’t able to find the best remedy, the above statements should help you find a solution that will help you deal with the cravings you have always been having.
Do Nutrient Deficiencies Cause Appetite & Hunger Cravings Conclusion
When it comes to cravings, many people find it hard to find a solution to the problem. Many will try this and that in an attempt to find the desired food that the body is craving for. Most of the foods that your body typically craves might have negative effects on your body. Many theories come up to defend the craving theory.
You should realize that not all suggestions about cravings relate to deficiency in certain minerals but craving has been seen to have an effect on the type of food required by the body.
You will also come across suggestions rating the different craving tendencies according to different genders. However, there are many ways in which you can reduce craving tendencies and substitute with better ways of addressing the problem.