Causes of Cravings
Updated: May 14, 2021
A craving can be a signal to your body, a way of your body communicating through your blood-brain barrier that something is off-kilter. Instead of viewing a craving as a weakness, we can begin to unpack the causes and reasons for why this craving is occurring.
1. Lack of Primary Food
An imbalance in our primary food groups (exercise, relationship, job dissatisfaction, etc) may trigger a craving. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied.
Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten to match needs more closely. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal. Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance, so you may seek sodium-rich foods concluding a workout.
3. Lack of Nutrients
If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. For instance, a lack of iron may cause fatigue in the body. When we are tired or bored, it's normal to reach for more palatable foods to provide a burst of stimulation.
When women experience changes in their menstrual cycle,, fluctuating estrogen levels may cause unique cravings. Stress has also been shown to alter hormones in order to promote cravings.
What goes up, must come down. Sometimes, you may revert to old habits because they are familiar or you’re not totally ready to let go of them. If this happens, remember to be patient with yourself – take a step back and recognize that even if your diet got off track briefly, you don't have to give up!