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Are food cravings indicative of nutrient deficiencies?

by Ion Gireada on 13 February 2015
Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition     |      comfort food,  food cravings,  friendship,  healthy food,  minerals,  Nutrition,  sadness,  vitamins

Occasionally, we have an almost insatiable craving for one or several foods, be it chocolate, strawberries, or a juicy stake. Nutritionists argue these cravings reflect the body’s lack of minerals or vitamins found in that particular food.

“Cravings mainly indicate that our body is lacking a specific mineral or nutrient,” Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson told MailOnline. “Instead of giving into our cravings, it is important to understand them, and give the body exactly what it needs.”

This opinion is shared up to a point by Melanie McGrice, an accredited practicing dietitian.

“Just because we have an obesity problem, doesn’t mean that we can’t be malnourished,” McGrice says. “Having a high intake of processed foods often leaves people low in micronutrients such as iodine, chromium and iron. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to food cravings. ”

After we get the proper nourishment, the cravings dissipate, she says.

Another perspective offered by accredited practicing dietitian Katie Thomsitt support the idea that instead of understanding the underlying message of the craving, we should prevent deficiencies in the first place with a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, lean meat, low fat dairy, and whole grains.

Despite anecdotal evidence about comfort food cravings, Thomsitt says there is no science to support the MailOnline’s claims.

“Food cravings are not an indication that your body is lacking certain nutrients or minerals,” she says. “There is no science to support the claim that a link exists.”

Thomsitt continues by saying that we crave comfort foods because they have a better taste, and we associate them with a celebratory mood, filled with friendship and socialization. She says all this means we think of these foods because they make us feel better when we are in fact feeling sad.

“Evidence has shown that food cravings are more likely driven by emotions such as stress, anxiety, feeling bored or lonely,” Thomsitt says. “When we experience these emotions, we crave comforting foods to help improve our mood.”

Are food cravings indicative of nutrient deficiencies?

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