We all experience a craving for a particular food at one time or another. Usually, that urge to eat involves something sweet, salty or greasy that are not the best healthy choices. That need is so strong and keeps up until finally giving in to that urge. For this purpose, here are some reasons that could explain why a food craving happens and what your body could be telling you.
One cause is blaming the brain. After all, we are bombarded with delicious images of foods in magazines, television commercials and online that can wet appetites from the signals relayed to the brain. For example, just seeing those chocolate bars or ice cream can conjure up blissful memories of the last time that you enjoyed them. Those signals from those certain desired foods tap into regions of the brain for feeling more pleasure with such magnitude that keep us getting pulled to eat them.
Often these type of foods driving that craving are referred to as hyperpalatable foods. They are easy to digest with that power to excite the brain and flood the system with hormones such as dopamine, cortisol, leptin, and insulin to cause an intense food craving.
Others can find stress makes them eat more salty, greasy or extra rich foods that may have made them feel better in the past. If emotional eating is the way your body reacts, then usually those choices are high calories and ones that will stimulate cortisol that will only make you want to eat more. The end result is that stress can cause packing on a lot of excess weight.
Medications can also be responsible for food cravings. Antidepressants, glucocorticoid drugs like prednisone, a steroid, to ones such as lisinopril for blood pressure just to name a few could explain cravings.
Prednisone may increase hunger while you’re taking that drug. However, lisinopril for some people can cause a person to lose too much sodium and result in hyponatremia, which is extremely serious such as what happened to a relative of mine.
What happened may sound like fiction, but it is true. My relative kept craving potato chips, but the doctor wanted her to watch her salt intake so we thought it best to avoid buying them. Anyway, some insect bit her on the leg that sent her to the doctor after the initial area kept expanding, getting redder and swelling. In return, the doctor sent her to the emergency room.
After the initial tests when sent to the emergency room, we learned that she had a dangerously low level of sodium ( hyponatremia) in her system. It was her blood pressure medicine that was stealing most of the salt in her body. As a result, she was admitted to the hospital and treated for fluid balance as well as for the insect bite.
Still, there are other possibilities that could explain a food craving, especially if you’re a woman. Our hormones and the way that estrogen and progesterone levels go up and down when you get your period can be responsible. According to one study, levels of estrogen and progesterone become too high, you’ll long for more carbohydrates and sweets.
You might want to try fresh fruit, low sugar yogurt, some nuts or some raisins over highly processed snacks and treats when the urge for a particular food arises. Something else that is important to try is eating smaller meals with more protein and fiber or snacks more frequently (every three or four hours) over a longer time between meals can make a difference to control the problem.
One last thing that you might want to do is stop snacking while watching television or reading since it can become a habit. I like to brush my teeth and floss after meals. Then I’m too lazy to do the whole routine again. This could be your way to help manage those cravings.