What your food cravings mean

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If there’s one struggle universal to college students, it’s cravings. We all have them, but few of us know what those cravings mean.

Until recently, I had never been on a diet. Diets were stupid and I didn’t want any part of them. But peer pressure got the best of me, and about six months ago I started a diet called Whole30 – I wouldn’t recommend it unless you enjoy mood swings, hunger pangs, cold sweats, etc. Whole30 requires you to cut out all grains, sugars, and dairy for thirty days.

I did not finish the full thirty days. In fact, I barely finished thirteen. But what surprised me most about this diet was my cravings. I thought my prominent craving would be chocolate because, yes, I am your average twenty-something girl. I was wrong. I craved carbs. All I wanted during those treacherous thirteen days was a simple piece of bread (Grandma Sycamore, preferably).

This shouldn’t have come as a total shock to me because carbs are my favorite (only) food group. But, while I’m over here craving carbs, my body is craving something completely different. Craving carbs means that your body is lacking nitrogen, which is found in high protein foods like fish, meat, nuts, and beans. So what do our other cravings mean? If you’re like the majority of the population, your main cravings are sweets, junk food, caffeine, carbs, and salty foods. This sounds like a day in the life for me. Here are the facts about your cravings:


When you are craving sweets, your body is lacking chromium, carbon phosphorus, sulfur, and tryptophan (Conrad). This means that instead of eating sweets, you should eat things like grapes, cheese, broccoli, fish, eggs, spinach, and sweet potatoes (to name a few). Studies have shown that craving sweets could also mean you’re tired. Hello, late night sugar cravings! Also, hello life of every college student. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is blasphemy in our stage of life, but apparently adequate sleep equals less sugar cravings.

Junk Food

When you are craving junk food (i.e. french fries, soda, pizza) your body is lacking calcium (Conrad). Substitute your junk food for things like cheese, broccoli, mustard, kale, and legumes. I know that doesn’t sound half as satisfying as a pepperoni pizza and a diet coke, but I promise your body will be much happier with you.


When you are craving caffeine your body is lacking salt and iron (Conrad). So, if you’re looking to quit your caffeine addiction, you should incorporate more lean meats like chicken and turkey, eggs, and black cherries into your diet. Craving caffeine could also mean that you are thirsty or dehydrated so DRINK WATER.

Salty Foods

When you are craving salty foods your body is lacking chloride, which is essential to a healthy digestive system and maintaining your electrolyte levels (Conrad). You should eat goat’s milk yogurt and fish. Also, try substituting unrefined sea salt for regular salt.

Wow. What a mouthful, right? All of this is really just a roundabout way of telling you to get your crap together and eat healthy. If you’re eating healthy and giving your body the nutrients it needs, you won’t have any of these cravings. Which is ideal because nobody wants to be a slave to the craves.

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