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The 18 Most Common Food Cravings + How to Fix Them Healthfully

Posted Oct 04 2011 4:31am
We’ve all been there:  Tuesday night.  Home alone.  There’s oatmeal in the cupboard and eggs in the fridge, but all we can’t stop thinking about is potato chips – and ice cream.  Alas, many nutritionists believe our food cravings are actually telling us we are deficient of some nutrient.  Take, for instance, the following 18 common diet disasters that come in the form of food cravings.  According to Dr. Huber, NMD , a naturopathic doctor and primary care physician in Tempe, Arizona, the following cravings are associated with the listed nutrient deficiencies, and can be appeased with the mentioned substitutes ( Naturopathy.com ):

If you crave this… What you really need is… And here are healthy foods that have it:
Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Chromium Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken
Carbon Fresh fruits
Phosphorus Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
Sulfur Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Nitrogen High protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans
Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Phosphorous Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes
Sulfur Egg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables
NaCl (salt) Sea salt, apple cider vinegar (on salad)
Iron Meat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Protein Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts
Avenin Granola, oatmeal
Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Glutamine Supplement glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice
Potassium Sun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens
Iron Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Carbon Fresh fruits
Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Chloride Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt
Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Water Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Water You have been so dehydrated for so long that you have lost your thirst. Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Zinc Red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables
Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables
Vitamin B1 Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
Vitamin B3 Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Chloride Raw goat milk, unrefined sea salt
Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetables

Some Exceptions to the Rules Above

1.  Make sure that you eat controlled portions of the “healthy” alternatives listed above.  Fortunately, many of the foods listed above are high in fiber, whole grains, and/or water content, so it is rather difficult to binge.  Still, remember that a serving size of whole grains is about the size of a cupped hand, while meats should be no larger than a deck of cards.

2.  If you consume controlled portions of the substitutes listed above and still experience the craving, wait 20 minutes and determine if you are still hungry.  Avoiding the food you are craving altogether is a sound strategy – It turns out that people will eat more calories when given a food they have thought about beforehand than of a food they never craved to begin with ( Appetite , 2003).

3.  If you are tired or fatigued and experiencing prolonged periods of hunger, make an appointment with your physician.  While it is likely that your condition is not serious, it is important to ensure that you are in good health before you begin any diet or exercise regimen.  One of my good friends recently was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and was rather relieved that her frequent colds, lethargy, and constant hunger had a cure.  You never know until you check!

Bottom Line

Try the above table next time you are feeling hungry.  If nothing else, you will be getting far more nutrients, less calories, and increased energy from stabilized blood sugar – definitely a win-win-win situation!

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Photo source:  Drunk Binge Eating , originally uploaded by  stephgomez.net .

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