What Your Cravings Want You to Know

Find out what your body is trying to tell you.

What Your Cravings Want You to Know

By Reina Berger

If you've ever found yourself craving a cupcake like no tomorrow, it may seem easy to just write it off as a quirky love of sugar or an act of hunger. However, as registered dietitian Maya Feller explains, sometimes when it comes to cravings, our bodies are trying to send messages to us, letting us know which nutrients we need and which conditions we may have. If you want to know what your sugar obsession, salt fixation, or hunger for meat really mean, keep reading.

More: The 3-Day Plan to Shut Down Your Cravings


Since chocolate is rich in magnesium, you may crave it more often if you have a deficiency. A great way to boost your magnesium intake is to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods like nuts (cashews, almonds, and peanuts), leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard), bananas, beans (kidney and black beans), brown rice, and lentils. You may also be feeling depressed or lethargic since chocolate releases the neurotransmitter Phenylethylamine, which can impact blood sugar and blood pressure and make you feel more alert. The compounds in chocolate also release dopamine which can give you a euphoric or high feeling that your body may crave.

More: Healthy, Guilt-Free Chocolate Recipes

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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