Crucial Information Food Cravings Are Telling You

Crucial Information Food Cravings Are Telling You

Have you ever had such strong cravings for something that you were powerless to resist? And once you started eating, you couldn’t just stop at one serving? Or even two?

Well, according to scientific research, it could be your body’s way of telling you that you may have nutritional deficiencies or other health issues.

Genuine hunger is triggered by the stomach and if you’re hungry enough, it’s likely you’d eat pretty much anything. Cravings though, tend to be a lot more specific and focused on a certain type of food, which gives a lot away in terms of what your body truly needs or might be lacking. You may not realize it, but certain cravings can tell you exactly what your body is crying out for.

Here are some common food cravings and what they suggest your body isn’t getting enough of so that next time you reach for that chocolate bar or salty food, you are well informed to make the right food choice for your body!

Chocolate Cravings

Chocolate Bars

Have a craving for chocolate? It might be more than just a sweet tooth, especially if you’re not really craving other sweet foods in the same way. A strong craving for chocolate can be a sign that you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet.

In particular, dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium. By choosing 70-85% cocoa, you could get as much as 25% of your daily needs of this mineral with just one square! Personally, I like to eat 2.

The problem with chocolate is that most people gravitate towards the milk chocolate kind that is full of sugar and offers little to no nutritional value. You can’t compare a KitKat or Mars Bar to an organic fair-trade 85% cocoa chocolate bar!

What to eat instead: Boost your magnesium intake with leafy greens, avocado and pumpkin seeds. If you really can’t stay away from chocolate, make sure you go for dark chocolate that is rich in cacao (at a minimum 70%) and just stick to one or two squares. As a general rule of thumb: the darker the chocolate, the more magnesium it’s likely to have.

Sweet Food Cravings

stack of colourful macarons

Craving sweet foods high in sugar suggests you’re not getting enough chromium in your diet. Your body doesn’t need a huge amount of this mineral, but it is vitally important for helping insulin to do its job and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Some studies have looked at whether chromium picolinate supplements could be used to reduce cravings in general and there is some evidence it could do this, especially for women who are currently overweight.

What to eat instead: Stock up on broccoli, onions, green beans, mushrooms, tomato and romaine lettuce for a chromium boost. Cinnamon is also another option – it tastes sweet, fills you up, and balances blood sugar!

Salty Food Cravings


Are you having a hard time keeping your hand out of the potato chip bag? Do you have to put salt on everything you eat? Constantly craving salty foods could be a sign that your adrenal glands are under stress. If this happens, it can mean that they aren’t producing the right balance of hormones. This can encourage your kidneys to get rid of more salt and your body then craves it to get your salt levels back up again.

Figuring out what is stressing you out is step one. Since our adrenal glands help us cope with stress, being constantly busy and worn out is draining to the adrenal glands. Trying to include meditation, some quiet in your day, and stress management techniques are extremely important.

Mineral deficiencies can also be a factor. Your body needs minerals such as potassium for lots of different roles in the body but if you’re lacking in it, it may lead to a yearning for salt.

The third thing that can cause salt cravings can be dehydration. Your body needs a certain amount of fluid to function properly and if you’re beneath that, craving salt could be a subtle way of telling you this.

What to eat instead: If low potassium is the culprit, you can eat more bananas, avocado, tomatoes, potatoes and cantaloupe melon to counteract it. Or drink a glass of water if you suspect you might be dehydrated. If you’re not sure about your adrenal glands, speak to your doctor about getting them tested. Good quality sleep is important for your adrenals.

Meat Cravings

raw cut of steak with rosemary on top

Meat cravings can happen often. Even vegetarians and vegans can get a real craving for meat as it can be a sign of iron deficiency. I was a vegetarian for 6 years, and what finally broke me was a piece of juicy steak!

Iron in animals is in what is called “heme-form”. We can absorb it readily and incorporate it into our haemoglobin in our red blood cells. Plant-based iron sources are “non-heme” and aren’t always used as efficiently as animal sources. Our body has to convert them from non-heme form to heme-form so that we can absorb them.

Craving meat can also be a sign that you are not eating enough protein, especially if you are exercising regularly. On average, a person need 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg), then you need to eat 55 g of protein. What does that look like in food? A chicken breast (23 g), handful of almonds (6g), 4 oz of steak (28g). Easy, right?

What to eat instead: Red meat is a great source of iron, particularly beef. If you don’t eat meat, make sure your diet includes plenty of legumes, beans, prunes, figs and dried fruits. Don’t go too overboard with dried fruits though as they can contain a lot of natural hidden sugar. You can help iron absorption more easily by consuming it alongside vitamin C rich foods such as oranges.

Cheese Cravings

slices of cheese

Can’t stop eating cheese? Cheese is high in fat, and craving cheese could indicate that you are lacking in essential fatty acids. It may also indicate a calcium or vitamin D deficiency.

People always think of cheese as fat and protein. But do you want to know something surprising? Cheese cravings can also indicate sugar cravings because milk contains natural sugars in the form of lactose.

What to eat instead: Walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and wild salmon are all great sources of fatty acids. Experts recommend that you eat fatty fish a couple of times per week if you are a fish eater. If calcium is the problem, greens such as broccoli and kale can boost your levels. And of course, there’s always cheese itself if you eat dairy!

Ice Cravings

ice cubes

Craving ice is a part of a wider range of cravings for things that don’t offer any nutritional value and is known as pica. Some experts have linked pica to an iron deficiency, although they’re not entirely sure what the connection is.

What to eat instead: Stock up on iron rich foods such as meat, legumes, beans and dried fruits.

Do you find yourself craving any of these foods often? Perhaps it’s time to boost your nutrition and replenish those essential vitamin and mineral levels. Learn how in 28 Day Healthy Habits Kickstart.

“Magnesium Can Help Prevent Chocolate Cravings” Natural Aug 2005
“Effects of Chromium Picolinate on Food Intake and Satiety” Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics: 2008 Oct;10(5):405-12.
“Adrenal Glands: Fatigue and Salt Cravings” Aug 2017
“Potassium Depletion and Salt Cravings” Oct 2017

In Health & Happiness
Dr. Tara Clapp, ND

Dr. Tara Clapp, ND

Dr. Tara Clapp, ND

Naturopathic Doctor Focusing on Anti-aging and Hormone Optimization

Dr. Tara Clapp, ND is a Board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and leading authority on Anti-Aging & Bio-Identical Hormones. Dr. Clapp, ND has taken numerous courses to advance her knowledge and has received certifications in Intravenous Nutrient Therapy, Mesotherapy & Injection Therapy for Anti-Aging  & Pain Management, as well as First Line Therapy Weight Management.

Dr. Tara Clapp, ND uses specialized, leading-edge laboratory testing for better diagnostics & health.  Dr. Tara Clapp, ND has special interests in anti-aging, bio-identical hormone therapy, food and nutrition,  metabolic and hormone imbalances and digestive disorders.

Being a naturopathic doctor has proven to be an especially rewarding experience to Dr. Tara Clapp, ND as it allows her to take part in people’s transformation and realization of their health potential. Consequently, Dr. Tara Clapp, ND continually updates her skills through new courses and conferences, and uses this information to better her clients.

Dr. Tara Clapp, ND is  a dedicated and caring physician, taking personal interest in her clients’ health and life.

Dr. Tara Clapp, ND has a passion for self-development programs that push her beyond regular physical and mental performance.  Dr. Tara Clapp, ND enjoys practicing yoga and meditation, has a love of photography, and relaxes by scrapbooking and enjoying long walks with her dog.


Dr. Tara Clapp, ND - Anti-aging and Hormone Optimization

Hi! I’m Dr. Tara Clapp, ND

I focus on anti-aging and hormone optimization.

As a naturopathic doctor, I help women achieve radiant skin, maintain an active lifestyle and have lots of energy to do what they want. But what I’m really passionate about is teaching women how to harness the power of nature to change their biology, hormones, and genetic expression so they can live happier and healthier lives and achieve their vision of their best self!

KickAss Keto Diet Program by Dr. Tara Clapp, ND
Renew You Detox Course by Dr. Tara Clapp, ND - Start Now! Detox from home in 10 days for only $47
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