WellBeing

Decode your cravings

When you’re hit by a powerful food craving, do you reach for something that’s salty, sweet or high in fat? Your choice may not be as random as you think. In fact, the tastes you prefer and the foods you crave can provide important intel about your emotional and physical health. Here are some common cravings, what they mean and what you can do about them.

Sugar

You reach for: doughnuts, cake, ice-cream, lollies, sweet biscuits

Possible causes:

• Low serotonin

• Stress

• Low chromium

• Adrenal fatigue (also known as HPA axis dysfunction, where HPA stands for the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands)

• Skipping meals

• Low thyroid hormones

• Unhealthy belly bacteria

• Too many refined carbs (causing a blood sugar crash)

The backstory

There are two main reasons you reach for something sweet. You’re after:

1. A quick burst of energy. Unfortunately, using sugary foods as a pick-me-up can soon drop you right back down again as your body releases insulin to lower your high blood sugar levels.

2. A feel-good boost. Sweet foods activate the reward circuits of your brain to release dopamine, which gives you a sensation of pleasure. These opioid receptors are the same ones that drive people to use drugs or gamble.

Your belly bacteria can also dominate

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