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Why We Crave Certain Foods

 
 
jespah
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 05:05 pm
What happens when we crave food? Food for thought from The Boston Globe.

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2008/10/08/cravings/

A few choice quotes from the article:

Quote:
Alas..., wisdom of the body is a myth, unless you're a rat. "When rats are salt deprived, they show a sodium appetite; they seem to be able to detect amino acids when they're protein deprived. But there's actually very little evidence for that in people. A lot of people in our society crave salty foods, but very few are actually salt deficient." Put those french fries down.

...
Quote:
Once we begin obsessing, a food craving is hard to shake. What's important to understand ... is that these cravings are normal. ... [P]eople who gave in less were more successful with weight loss." Instead of feeling guilty about cravings, ... it may be more useful to acknowledge them and teach ourselves to manage them by resisting more frequently and controlling portion size.


Quote:
And as sticky as cravings are, we may be able to rewire ourselves to crave healthier foods. ...


Quote:
In a study on comfort food, ...

"If you get in the habit of eating something good for you, you can strengthen the probability you're going to want to eat that food," Pelchat says. "It does happen that when people go on diets and get used to eating fish, if they haven't had it for a while they crave it. I don't think old cravings ever totally go away, unfortunately, but if you change your habits the probability you'll be exposed to cues that trigger them does go down."


I can definitely attest to the power of the last nugget of information -- that by adding many more healthy foods into my diet, I find I crave them. Chocolate? Eh, it's okay. I'm a lot more likely to crave oatmeal or tuna steak or a big, crunchy salad. It doesn't mean I don't like things that are not so good for me. But I do find that other desires can often crowd them out?

How do your food cravings work? Do you prefer salt or sweet or something else? Do you give into them? If not, how do you get the cravings to pass? And, is there a particular good food that you wish you could bring yourself to crave, but for whatever reason you just plain can't?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 14 • Views: 10,194 • Replies: 47
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Joeblow
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 05:50 pm
@jespah,
I craved broccoli and ate it every day with lunch for several years until I developed an allergy and had to give it up completely. It pissed me off…I can’t tell you. It was my favourite vegetable and I ruined it, but I didn’t have a clue that could happen! I mean, I knew you could develop an allergy at any point in life, but seriously, when it happened I thought, you gotta be kidding…broccoli?

I’ve also noticed that I find myself craving carbs, when I’ve been through a period of eating them a lot. It becomes cyclical and difficult to break, but at least the cravings subside within a few days once I’ve managed to cut back to healthier levels. At least, that used to be the way for me…I’m trying to muster the gumption to get a grip again. The thing is, I know I feel much better when I restrict them.

As for chocolate and salt, I do periodically crave them and …I give in.

jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 05:59 pm
@Joeblow,
I've found salt to be a craving every, er, 28 days or so.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 06:01 pm
@jespah,
The 28 day craving for me was chocolate milk. It's not as regular anymore, but it's still as reliable a warning Cool

NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 06:42 pm
@ehBeth,
I don't have any particular cravings. I guess I'm just weird.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 07:38 pm
@NickFun,
Well if you have intermittent cravings for some of the same reasons the gals do, you certainly would be, NickFun. Otherwise, we'll just chalk it up to you being a guy.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:38 pm
@NickFun,
NickFun wrote:

I don't have any particular cravings. I guess I'm just weird.


Yeah, you are weird, but that's not why.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:44 pm
@jespah,
I have been having a love affair with President's Choice Fudgicles for about 5 years. Some days I'll have none or one, others I'll have four. And I am a very unhealthy eater, esp at work... where I eat nothing but a biscuit for 3 days... and when I'm here for 30 - 42 days, that gets serious for nutritionists.

I believe you follow your instincts and you follow your body. If I crave a KFC chicken piece, then I go get one (if I can). It's gross and disgusting but I'll eat if it I want it. Or if I want a Thai Beef Curry, then I eat that. And if I want nothing, then that's what I eat. I am still going strong, so... nutrition be damned.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:53 pm
@jespah,
Hi, my name is Calamity Jane and I am a chocoholic.

Seriously, if I had to choose between an excellent meal and my favorite brand
of chocolate, I'd take the chocolate any day.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:59 pm
@CalamityJane,
Aha! Now I know what to give you for Christmas (if we were exchanging gifts and I knew where to send it) Smile
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:02 pm
@Mame,
I my name is Dyslexia and i am not now nor have I ever bean your brother-in-law nor have i ever liked you and I'm glad your roast failed. kiss my go-to-hell.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:05 pm
@dyslexia,
Poopity-head!!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:16 pm
Hmmm-ing. I think of food/drink cravings in varied ways.

I well remember the salty grease - coca cola - something neutral - something sugary - and now for some salty grease - cycle that I do see as a trigger whirl.

I easily see food cravings in certain weather. In a cold rain I want to be in a snug indian restaurant in Venice either blasting my esophagus with spicy shear or

at the old Chez Helene's with just perfect old fashioned french cafe dishes, again with rain pounding, and knowing Venice and that set of buildings, it might have been pounding into a pan in the kitchen.

I'm not the best fruit eater, and I sometimes crave fruit and listen.

I love a lot of vegetables, now, after all those non veg years, but like them in particular ways. So... it won't be that I crave broccoli, but that I crave roasted broccoli.

Thing is, as one explores lots of foods if one is lucky enough to live in a city with a variety of tiny restaurants... your eyes and taste buds can open up to them, or not, and ... here's the thing, you can switch off of some old stuff. Not all the old stuff, but quite a bit of it.

Then you become this complex sac of memories and present choices and cravings. To me, a rich stew.


ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:19 pm
@ossobuco,
So, Dys and I and Roger went out for afternoon lunch, while Diane showed up at a promised volunteer gig.
0 Replies
 
islandgirl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 09:49 pm
@jespah,
I can't speak for the rats, but I can speak as a woman.

In my personal experience when I am aproaching the dreaded menstruation time of the month I crave salt. My body in general will fluctuate a weight gain of 2 to 4 pounds during that time. I'm a fit woman, I work out vigorously daily to stay fit. Maybe my body may not be salt defficient, but it needs a way to add the extra water to maintain the bloodloss that women experience during this time. Favorite cravings, of course french fries.

In my daily normal routine I rarely get hit with cravings other than a great steak. I've found that I can curb this somewhat by making a bernaise sauce by Knorr (the dried spice packet, I'm a great cook but we are talking cravings and the dried variety is close to fat free) and put it on my favorite vegetables.

roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 10:45 pm
@islandgirl,
islandgirl wrote:

I can't speak for the rats, . . . .


Well, I can, and when my body craves pepperoni pizza, I listen to my body. Oddly, it has never demanded broccoli.
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:18 am
@roger,
Quote:
my body craves pepperoni pizza

Yo, Ratboy - if its got cheese, its talking to you!!

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/09/30/us/30cheese600.1.jpg
Hot, cheese-wearing chicks!
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:46 am
Mailer had a good essay on the subject. I forget which book. Probably Advertisements For Myself. It's food for thought.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:52 am
@spendius,
Where in the world was it Friday 09.46 when I posted that?
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 07:48 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:
Hmmm-ing. I think of food/drink cravings in varied ways.

I well remember the salty grease - coca cola - something neutral - something sugary - and now for some salty grease - cycle that I do see as a trigger whirl....


I think that's what they're getting at in the article, e. g. that it's easy to fall into salt-sugar-fat over and over and over again but if you substitute better or at least more diverse foods you can start to turn those into triggers.

Bernaise, eh, islandgirl? Is it very salty? I've found Knorr to be salty but then again these days I am watching salt like a fiend.
 

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