Experiencing cravings for certain types of food when you begin losing weight is normal. Whether you have an insatiable sweet tooth or have a hard time saying “no” to the bread basket, be assured that these cravings will naturally subside as your body adjusts to healthier food choices. Having cravings for salt, sugar, chocolate or cheese may simply be your body telling you it needs more of certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Decoding cravings and being able to figure out what your body is really telling you, will assist you with staying on-track toward your weight-loss goals. Knowing the underlying causes of these pesky cravings will allow you the control to overcome them and eventually they will subside
What Your Cravings Really Mean
Salt cravings. One of the main functions of salt in your body, is to retain water. If you have a craving for something salty, you may be slightly dehydrated and your body is trying to hold onto fluids. Dehydration can pose as a hunger pang, be sure you’re consuming at least 80 ounces of water each day. A salt craving may also be your body requesting trace minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc. For these reasons, good alternatives to salt are drinking water and eating nutrient-rich foods like cottage cheese, kale and other dark greens or Greek yogurt.
Chocolate cravings. A chocolate craving can be an indication that your body needs magnesium. Incorporate more magnesium-rich foods into your diet like leafy greens, fish and broccoli. Ensuring you get a balance of important minerals like magnesium and calcium, which will help to keep your body balanced and cravings at bay.
Cheese and Pizza cravings. A longing for cheese or pizza can signal a deficiency in essential fatty acids. Try to incorporate more salmon and omega-3 healthy fats like avocado, olives and olive oil into your daily meals!
Sweet cravings. A desire for sugar may mean that you’re experiencing blood sugar fluctuations. When your blood sugar levels drop, your body tries to quickly obtain energy and can signal your brain that it needs sugar. Unfortunately, the sugar your body needs won’t be found in the refined sweet treats that your taste buds are craving. Instead of giving in to the sweet tooth cravings, try eating a delicious piece of fresh fruit. Try to incorporate more high-fiber foods like beans and legumes, which give your body the fuel it needs without the blood sugar spikes.
Red meat cravings. When you start to crave steak and burgers, it could mean that you’re experiencing an iron deficiency. Integrate more iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, eggs, whole wheat bread, shrimp, spinach and other dark leafy greens.