“Dad, can we get McDonald’s?”
“Mom, can I have a cone from the ice cream truck?”
“Can we get pizza for dinner?”
“I want the Super Sugar Sweetpuff cereal!”
Sound familiar? The demands for junk and sweets are much too familiar for most households with kids.
We expect that, tolerate it, even give into it more than we should. Because the secret of all parents is that when our kids ask for something we generally want it too. That or we just want the cries and begging to stop.
Food cravings are natural and normal, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to them. In fact, your body might be craving a totally different nutrient and you don’t even know it.
What Your Cravings Really Mean
When You’re Craving Sugar
Perhaps the most persistent and insidious craving we experience is sugar. The brain reacts almost violently to the introduction of glucose into our system. It even lights up in ways similar to drug addiction!
It all comes down to the way our body converts food into energy. Sugar is a very efficient resource, which our brain loves to use. So when we are tired, irritable or just want to activate the pleasure center of our mind, our brain says, “Sugar, please! Donuts, ice cream, candy bars, oh my!”
But certain foods in that category may point to other causes, as well. Chocolate could mean you are low on magnesium. Just wanting sugar all the time could point to you needing more tryptophan, chromium, sulfur or phosphorous. Even the desire for soft drinks has been linked to calcium and sodium deficiencies in some cases.
When You’re Craving Salt
Did you know that people on low carb or ketogenic diets often suffer from serious sodium deficits? It can cause a condition known as “keto flu”, where the electrolytes plummet as the body flushes out glucose to prepare to use fat as a fuel source. To get past that hurdle they are recommended to add salt to their food and to drink bone broth any time they get headaches, feel tired or get irritable.
The body needs salt, which is often why it craves it. If you have been running yourself ragged, spent a lot of time in the heat or have been active your salt is probably low. Stress can also cause this, as can hormonal swings (the ladies will recognize this one from their menstrual cycle). In some cases you could be short on chloride.
A Well Balanced Diet Kills Cravings Dead
Your family can beat their cravings with a well balanced, nutritious diet filled with all the nutrients they need to keep going. It may even help overcome some of the struggles your child has been experiencing. Food is amazing!