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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why We Crave Various Foods...

low calorie dark chocolateThe other day I read a really great article on cravings that I thought was really interesting and worth passing along. Cravings don't affect everyone, but they do affect me! On a daily basis I find myself trying to tackle and overcome a few cravings that happen to me -- usually for dark chocolate, Indian food (like curry and naan!), as well as tortilla chips and salsa. I've always searched for low calorie ways to satisfy my cravings, and had never stopped to think about where these cravings might be coming from -- that was, until I read this article

The article notes that cravings are still not fully understood but talks about many possible sources of cravings. The first one is fairy logical -- that our minds are hardwired to desire foods full of fat that would have helped keep our ancestors from starving hundreds of years ago (obviously no longer an issue in today's food driven society). Another rational for cravings is that they happen when there is a change in our equilibrium, like with stress, a sickness, or anything else that makes our bodies have a need (physical or emotional) that we need filled. I thought this explanation was particularly useful, since I can now self-check how I'm "feeling" when cravings arise.

So, what makes us crave the specific food we crave? The article explains that we are likely to crave foods with which we have positive emotional association, even at an unconscious level. This is particularly useful because if this hypothesis is true, then we should be able to wire ourselves to crave healthier foods by eating them more often (in order to increase the odds that you'll build an emotional association with it).

So where does this leave us? Well, still with cravings! But, with a bit more of an understanding of how our bodies work with respect to its desires for foods. I know that I will personally try to stay more conscious of cravings, in an effort to better understand where they are coming from for me personally.


Chocolate Photo from MyRecipes.com


Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

I used to crave carbs and I think it was because I was eating too little of it. So, my theory about craving is that your body need certain food, so just satisfy it eating a small portion and you'll avoid the binge.

HangryPants said...

This is interesting because I've heard two different things about calories - have a little bit of what you want to satisfy it OR stop eating it completely and you won't want it anymore. So far, neither has worked for me!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

VERY interesting!

Anonymous said...

Great article. Thank you!

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