My sugar cravings were in high gear for many years. I finally made the connection between stress and my chocolate and candy cravings. Your body talks to you in many ways. Most times we are just far too busy to listen to those messages.
What Your Cravings Are Secretly Telling You About Your Health
There’s no surefire way to figure out exactly why you want to eat a particular food at a particular time. But some food cravings can hint at nutritional deficiencies or other health issues, according Joseph Colella, M.D., weight-loss expert and author of The Appetite Solution.
So while food cravings aren’t the best diagnostic tools on their own, listening to what you crave — and putting those cravings into context — can help you give your body what it really needs. So consider these triggers the next time you experience a common food craving:
- You’re getting your period, you’re pregnant, or you’re having a shitty day.Because society vilifies chocolate as high in calories and fat, people tend to crave chocolate at times when they think it’s socially acceptable to eat it, explains says Julia M. Hormes, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. So if you’ve heard that raging hormones make you crave chocolate or that chocolate contains special chemicals that improve your mood, you may crave it when your period is on its way or after a particularly bad day. “We attribute cravings to whatever is obvious to us — we use any excuse to indulge,” Hormes adds.
- You’re on a diet that’s too restrictive. “Cravings can be the result of our intent to stay away from things that are pleasant and pleasurable to eat,” Hormes says. And when you’re hungry from restricting calories, your body registers chocolate — a food that’s calorically dense — as a perfect food to fill up on. It helps that chocolate melts at body temperature for an orgasmic mouthfeel — it really doesn’t get better than that.
- You’re pre-diabetic. This is only a real risk if your candy cravings are accompanied by the increased urgency to pee, and if your sugar cravings are extreme and chronic, Dr. Colella says. (If you’re concerned, see your doctor for a blood test.)
- You’re getting or you have your period. Any change in hormones levels can increase sugar cravings. (So it’s not an urban myth!)
- You’re OD-ing on processed carbs. Oftentimes candy cravings are related to what you ate at your last meal: white bread, white rice, and pasta contain simple carbs that spike your blood sugar for instant boot of energy that lands you in a lazy slump — and leaves you searching for your next sugar fix.
- You’re stressed as hell. Sugar activates your brain’s reward center. In nail-biting situations, you might subconsciously crave candy (or doughnuts or cake) for some sweet relief.