What the most common food cravings mean

Whether you crave sweet or savory dishes, not all cravings mean the same thing.

While the vast majority are purely cravings (home-cooked meals are an example), others may indicate a lack of nutrients or a hormonal imbalance .

Emotional reasons are not the reason why you have a lot of junk food cravings, the cause could be a psychological issue, that would explain why your body constantly wants to eat more outside of your meal times.


It is very true that our body uses cravings as a method of telling us that we need something. However, when you crave chocolate , it’s usually not what your body really needs. When you crave chocolates, you most likely have a deficiency of magnesium, chromium and vitamin B, according to several specialists.

Give your body these micronutrients in the form of supplements or consume 70% (or more) dark chocolate, which is an excellent source of magnesium. A fistful of almonds can also help you calm this craving, as they are high in magnesium.


Cravings for sweet foods, such as cakes or cookies, may be a sign that your blood sugar is too low or that you are dehydrated. However, always keep in mind that when you consume large amounts of sweets, it is very possible to have a sudden sugar crash, which can affect your hormones and metabolism.

Before you eat sweet foods, try drinking a glass of water and give your body some time to “reset”. If the craving is still there, eat an apple, berries, or an orange. However, craving sweet foods may indicate depression. If you often feel very sad or always want to eat sweet things, find ways to increase your serotonin levels , either through exercise or by talking to a specialist.


A craving for salty foods can be caused by several things, such as too much sugar in the diet, a sodium deficiency, or too much potassium. For this it is recommended to reduce sugar and avoid table salt.

If your craving for something salty occurs during a stressful period, it could also indicate a need for B vitamins. Taking a good vitamin B complex will suppress the craving. However, if salt cravings occur after a workout , illness, or upset stomach , it may mean that the body has lost a lot of minerals. For this it is recommended to take an electrolyte powder in plain water to replace the missing minerals. It is best to choose these instead of sports drinks, as they often contain too much sugar.


When it comes to cravings for fatty or fried foods, a deficiency in EFAs (essential fatty acids) is often the culprit. However, breakfast burgers or bacon and eggs contain too much trans fat, fats that are processed to extend shelf life and make a cheaper product.

Instead of greasy pizza or fried chicken, eat avocado, a spoonful of coconut or flaxseed oil, a salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or dip bread in olive oil. Nuts and seeds contain healthy oils and are excellent choices as well. Alternatively, regularly include oily fish such as salmon or herring in your diet or take a fish oil supplement. Remember that your brain is 60 percent fat and your body needs oils, and the right kind, to stay healthy.


Bread and pasta are comfort foods that seem to be like a brain drug to an addict. When you’re eating that croissant, the neurotransmitter dopamine (also known as the “pleasure chemical”) is released, which explains why you may have difficulty stopping eating carbs.

Carbohydrate cravings could mean your body wants more nitrogen (meat, poultry and fish contain this). Or you might need a ‘hug’ of food and instant gratification.” Eat a handful of nuts or a serving of hummus. If this fails to extinguish your craving, then it’s probably a craving for gratification. Emotional engagement (journaling, chatting with a friend, etc.) and a positive internal conversation about what is really needed may be the answer here.


A craving for red meat often points to a deficiency in protein (which is quite rare), as well as iron, amino acids or phosphorus. Several doctors agree that an iron deficiency is often the cause of red meat cravings, but caution against eating too much meat to compensate for this.

People really don’t need as much protein as the popular press seems to try to convince us. There are cheap, meatless solutions that are friendlier to the planet and keep the body healthy, happy and well fed, without cravings and deficiencies. Eating dried fruits, beets, beans, and prunes is suggested if you are iron deficient. These foods are packed with adequate iron and are also easier on the kidneys and your digestion.