12 Common Food Cravings And What They're Saying About Your Health


12 Common Food Cravings And What They're Saying About Your Health

Having cravings is normal. For the most part they're fleeting, and disappear after a short while, but there are times when you can't shake them off no matter how much time has passed.

According to research, cravings aren't always all in your head, and you should really listen to your body because it is sending you a message.

Although it isn't always the case, developing a constant craving for a specific type of food could mean that your body has a deficiency.

Here are 12 common cravings and what they mean for your health:

1. French Fries

Most people crave french fries because a) they're delicious and b) they satisfy a salt craving.

But if you find yourself constantly wanting to munch on fries, then that's your body's way of asking for more chloride and minerals like zinc, calcium, and magnesium.

Do keep in mind that excessive sodium consumption has negative side effects, so moderation is key.

2. Red Meat

If you can't help but think about biting into a steak all day long, then it could mean that your iron levels are low.

This is especially common among pre-menopausal women, as well as those who experience heavy periods.

Ironically, you might not even be into red meat, but you can clear up the craving by eating more spinach, beans, legumes, and cherries.

3. Sugar

A study recently proved that there's a genetic reason why some people are more keen on eating sweets than others, but this doesn't mean that you get a free pass to eat large amounts of candy without consequences.

If you find yourself often craving cookies or cake, it's time to reevaluate your diet because you are most likely eating too many simple carbohydrates.

These sugary treats will fill you up, but they also spike your blood sugar, which is then followed by a crash. You start craving more sugar once the crash happens, and the cycle starts all over again.

4. Coffee or Tea

Do you have more than one cup of coffee a day? If you're reaching for more caffeinated drinks than you really should, then your body needs sodium, sulfur, or iron.

It could also mean that you're dehydrated, so try substituting some of the extra cups of coffee with water, and you'll soon realize that you don't really need the excess caffeine to function.  

5. Cheese

Cheese is an integral part of the average American's diet. However, if you're finding it hard to say "when" as the waiter at your favorite Italian restaurant grates Parmesan onto your plate, then that could be a sign of something more serious than an obsession for cheese.

There's a chance that you're not getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids, and you can change that by incorporating fatty fish like salmon and nuts into your diet.

6. Pasta


Simple carbohydrates like pasta, bread and rice are digested in the same way as sugar, so if you can't stop thinking about eating pasta, then it may be because your body is missing some important nutrients.

Registered Dietician Alissa Rumsey says "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."

Like we were all told while growing up, eat your vegetables!

7. Chocolate

Chocolate lava cake

While most of us regularly crave chocolate because it's delicious and makes us feel happy, some of us might want to think twice before we indulge.

Cocoa is a rich source of magnesium, so when you crave chocolate what your body really wants is more magnesium. It could also mean that you need vitamin B or essential fatty acids.

Chocolate has been found to have an effect on seratonin, so craving it could mean that you're feeling depressed.

Instead of reaching for an extra sweet milk chocolate bar, opt for dark chocolate that's at least 75% cocoa. You can also try adding cocoa powder to your smoothies or cocoa nibs to your cereal or oatmeal.

8. Carbonated beverages

Glass of coke

Ah, we all love a cold, fizzy drink, but we know that they're not good for us.

At one point in time, I used to drink at minimum one can of Diet Coke a day, but then my doctor informed me that the reason why I was always craving fizzy beverages was because my body needed more calcium.

Chances are you're also drinking it for its sugary goodness, so it's time to increase your complex carb, fat and protein intake too.

9. Popcorn

A bowl of popcorn

The only time I really remember to eat popcorn is when I'm watching a movie, which doesn't happen often. However, I know many people who love to snack on popcorn whenever the opportunity presents itself.

According to People's Pharmacy, bingeing on popcorn could indicate a zinc or iron deficiency, or you could be suffering from cortisone fluctuations.

Cortisone is the "stress hormone," so experts recommended eating lots of leafy greens, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and exercise to help you manage your stress and get rid of this random craving.

10. Burnt food

Charred chicken on the grill

Do you like your BBQ meat charred? Your toast dark? If yes, then your system could be in desperate need of carbon.

Burnt food has been linked to cancer, so you might be a good idea to stop eating that. Instead, reach for some fruit because they're great sources of carbon. Make sure you have at least two to three servings per day.

11. Lemon


If you have find yourself often having a hankering for lemons or other citrus fruits, you may be lacking Vitamin C.

It's important that your body always has adequate levels of this crucial vitamin because it keeps your immune system healthy, protects against cancer, and prevents the formation of cataracts.

As you probably already know, you can get your vitamin C by consuming citrus fruits, orange juice, as well as peppers.

12. Ice

Ice cubes

So ice isn't exactly food, but surprisingly, it is one of the most common cravings people get.

If you find yourself asking for extra ice so you can suck on it, you could be suffering from anemia.

People with low levels of iron tend to gravitate towards ice and slushy drinks because it soothes the inflammation in their mouth, even if they're not aware of it.

What are you currently craving? Let us know in the comments!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.