I’m a nutrition expert and here’s what your cravings really mean

Craving is a common emotion and can often lead us to dip our hand in the cookie jar too many times.

However, experts have warned that these hunger pangs could actually be due to serious health problems.

If you often scour the fridge for ingredients to satisfy your cravings, you might want to dig deep to understand what they really mean


If you often scour the fridge for ingredients to satisfy your cravings, you might want to dig deep to understand what they really mean

Lifesum nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt says that most of the time, people crave high-calorie foods high in sugar, saturated fat and sodium, which are often not rich in nutrients.

Signe explains that cravings for a certain treat can arise for a number of reasons, even if you have too many restrictions in your diet.

She also says that eating too little during the day, unbalanced meals, and lack of sleep can lead to cravings.

Red meat

Signe says if you’re craving red meats like steak, lamb, pork and veal, it could be due to low iron levels.

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The NHS recommends you limit the amount of red meat in your diet due to links to colon cancer.

If you want an alternative, tofu, beans, and whole-wheat sourdough bread are other good sources of iron.


Lara Hughes, nutritionist and founder of Wholistic Health by Lara says that while alcohol is addictive for many reasons, both physical and emotional, there’s another reason you might be craving that glass of vino after work.

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This could be due to dysregulation of blood sugar.

She explains that wine is one of the drinks with the highest sugar content.

This can be dangerous for those looking for their next pick-me-up due to low blood sugar, whether it’s skipping meals or eating a high-sugar, unbalanced diet.

“Stress also affects blood sugar regulation, which, alongside the emotional drivers, can further increase temptation,” she says.

Instead of going straight to the bottle, Lara says, take a moment to find a nutritious snack, like a whole oatcake or an apple dipped in nut butter, or a few chunks of dark chocolate (which, too, need not which promote feel-good hormones). alcohol) with a handful of unsalted nuts. See if you still want the glass of red…

When we’re dehydrated, we often feel tired and sluggish – which triggers coffee cravings

Laura HughesNutritionist and Founder of Wholistic Health by Lara


Most people love carbs, whether it’s pizza, pasta, or a slice or two of toast.

Lara says these foods are incredibly high in glucose, so sugar/wine and carb cravings often go hand in hand.

She explains that you might crave these foods when you’re tired because they’re quick sources of energy.

“cravings can occur when you’re skipping meals, following a restrictive diet (which comes with additional emotional drivers for cravings), interfering with your sleep and needing extra fuel — or coming down from high sugar and the proverbial blood sugar roller coaster,” says Lara .

Lara explains that if you’re feeling a bit down, you might also fancy a delicious pizza.

That’s because refined carbs not only increase the feel-good hormone (serotonin) and make us more motivated (dopamine), but also help us absorb the amino acid tryptophan (found in various animal products) — which facilitates the production of both serotonin and sleep-inducing drugs melatonin.


If you’re struggling to top your local coffee shop on your commute, there’s a good chance you’re addicted to caffeine.

Lara says the number one reason you crave caffeine is dehydration.

“Water is key to all bodily processes – including metabolism and energy.

“When we’re dehydrated, we often feel tired and sluggish — which triggers coffee cravings.”

She advises the next time you’re contemplating a fourth cup of coffee, opt for a few glasses of water (aim for 2 liters daily) and see if you still feel sluggish.

How can I prevent cravings?

Cravings are normal, but they can get in the way of a healthy, balanced diet.

Signe said that to prevent your cravings, here’s what you should do:

  • Include nutritious foods in your diet rather than excluding certain foods
  • consume enough energy during the day
  • Eat balanced meals rich in fiber, protein and unsaturated fat
  • have enough sleep

sweets and cakes

While you might not be able to stop thinking about that gorgeous cupcake you spotted, the expert says the craving is actually only in your head.

She explains that the need for these types of foods is fueled by certain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in your brain) that also act as hormones.

“When your ‘feel good’ hormone (serotonin) dips, sugar can temporarily increase it, making you feel better, while spikes in your stress hormone (cortisol) push you towards high-sugar, survival-promoting foods, which contributes to ‘anxious eating’ .

She said these are three main reasons you might have a sweet tooth:

  • you didn’t fuel properly
  • You’re coming down from a sugar high
  • you are addicted.

If any of this sounds like you, the guru says the more you steer clear of sugary foods, the more your neurotransmitters will be rebalanced and the less sugar pain you’ll experience.

“Instead, don’t skip meals and fill up on balanced foods like high-fiber whole grains, whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like avocados and nuts, and lean sources of protein, all of which slow the release of glucose into your blood and both help stabilize your energy levels.” as well as your desire.”

She adds that you could use a dietary supplement like CORREXIKO marine collagen powder to help.


If all you want is a bag of chips from your local chippy, then it could be due to dehydration or a very rare sodium deficiency, Signe says.

“Other good sources of fluids include water, sparkling water, or foods rich in water.

“If you want a more nutritious option than fries to help curb your sodium cravings, try olives, cucumbers and greens with a low-fat Greek yogurt dip,” she suggests.


We all love a bit of chocolate every now and then, but if you’re craving it constantly, the Lifesum expert says it may be due to low magnesium levels.

Other good sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, she says.


When temperatures get hot just before summer, you might reach for an ice cream cone.

But if you want a soft serve all the time, it could be due to low calcium levels.

As an alternative, Signe says other good sources of calcium include dark leafy greens, low-fat Greek yogurt, and tofu.

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Soft drinks

Cravings for fizzy drinks could be due to dehydration, says Signe,

When you feel like a soda or a Coke, she suggests opting for water, sparkling water, or water-rich foods like melons, oranges, strawberries, lettuce, and cucumbers.

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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8783520/nutrition-expert-what-food-cravings-really-mean/ I’m a nutrition expert and here’s what your cravings really mean

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