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

Salt

If you find yourself reaching for the salt shaker at every meal and longing for the saltiest potato chips you can find, your body may be sending you some signals. Craving salt can be a sign of dehydration, whether that’s from profuse sweating in hot climates, not drinking enough water on a regular basis, or exercising heavily and not replenishing your fluids. Some studies even suggest that extracellular dehydration during pregnancy could actually increase the appetite for salt in offspring. You may also have an electrolyte imbalance which can be linked to hydration, or it can be due to an adrenal insufficiency. To find out for sure, make an appointment with your primary care physician so they can run tests and diagnose you properly.

More: 5 Secret Salt Bombs

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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