Decipher What Your Food Cravings Mean About Your Health

See what these five common cravings mean about your diet.

By Doug Lazy on October 19, 2017
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Marie Claire teamed up with Alissa Rumsey MS, RD, and creator of the free guide Three Steps to a Healthier You, to help figure out what these five common food cravings say about your health.


If you find yourself daydreaming about hamburgers and steak throughout the day, it could be a sign of iron deficiency in your diet, especially for women with heavy periods, Rumsey says.


Rumsey stated that “salt cravings can occur if you’re falling short on minerals, specifically calcium, magnesium, and zinc.” However, if it’s specifically french fries or other more unhealthy, salty snacks that you’re craving, this could be an indication of too much sodium consumption. There was a recent study saying nine in ten Americans consume too much sodium. By cutting sodium intake in your diet, you can retrain your taste buds to crave salt.


The desire for more cheese may indicate a lack of fat in your diet – specifically, omega-3 fatty acids. Rumsey says the best ways to include more in your diet are through consuming fatty fish like salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts.


Salt in similar to sugar in that the more you eat it, the more you crave it. “If you’re overdoing it on simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread, bagels, and pastries, you may find that you end up craving more candy and other sweets. Simple carbohydrates spike your blood sugar, which leads to a big release of insulin, followed by a blood sugar crash. When this crash happens, your appetite can spike and you can crave more sugar.” Which brings us to…


According to Rumsey: “[Pasta] is similar to a sugar or candy craving because simple carbs are treated the same way as sugar once they are digested. If you’re eating too many simple carbs and not enough protein and fat, your blood sugar levels will fluctuate, causing you to crave more carbs.”

Of course, as with any health advice, your specific dietary needs may vary depending on individual circumstances. So make sure you visit a doctor if you feel that you might be experiencing more extreme cravings or changes in your body.

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