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

Meat

If you suddenly have an insatiable craving for burgers and steaks your body may be sending you a serious message. An out-of-the-blue, overwhelming desire for red meat could be caused by not eating enough protein, having a vitamin B deficiency, or having low iron. Women who are menstruating may also be craving meat more than usual, which could be due to fluctuating hormones and iron deficiencies as well.

Watch: The Best Beef to Buy

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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