Ever thought to yourself, “Why am I always craving sweets at the end of a long day?” Or had a conversation with a friend who says she regularly craves salty foods more than sugary ones? As the topic began to come up more and more at the office, we decided to turn to an expert for the scoop on what these certain cravings really mean.
When You’re Craving Sugar…
Registered dietitian Elizabeth DeRobertis says this could mean two different things. “It may be that you’ve gone too long without eating and your body feels a dip in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), so you feel like you need something sweet as a pick-me-up to help reverse the low blood sugar. However, people also crave sugar once they’ve had some in their system and it triggers the addictive component that some people feel when they consume it. Once they have a bite of something with high sugar content, it triggers the reward center in their brain and leaves them craving more.”
When You’re Craving Salt…
According to DeRobertis, a salt craving could come from being dehydrated or if your body is missing any of the trace minerals it needs. “The body needs calcium, magnesium, zinc and other minerals to keep its systems running smoothly,” she says. “Many minerals have a salty flavor, so when you get the message to eat more salt, your body may be telling you that you need more minerals. Also, when you become dehydrated (it can be caused by exercise and drinking alcohol, among other things), you need a little more salt to bring your electrolytes back in line and keep retaining the water you need.” So how can you prevent it? “Make sure to drink plenty of water every day and extra water when you drink alcohol or exercise,” says DeRobertis, who notes that salt cravings could also be due to habit. “Some people who were brought up eating foods with a higher sodium content may find that they crave salty foods more often.”
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