Food cravings can tell you a lot about your body’s nutritional needs if you understand how to decode and interpret them. In my nutrition practice, I always teach my clients the importance of listening to one’s body and developing one’s ‘nutritional intuition’.
Your nutritional intuition is the inherent understanding of how your body instinctively knows what it needs. However, with the introduction of processed food into the human diet, it has become very challenging for the average person to understand and interpret food cravings. Cravings for french fries doesn’t correlate with your body’s need for fried food. Cravings for sugar doesn’t mean you need more sugar.
How you effectively are able to decode your food cravings can teach you how to properly nourish yourself.
Some people have intense cravings for sugar, starch and carbohydrates. Sugar cravings are a strong indicator that what you’ve been eating at your previous meals has not been adequate enough for your metabolism.
I have found very often, that Protein Metabolic Types have intense cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. This is especially true of they don’t eat adequate amounts of protein and fat, which of course are their primary fuel sources.
The body recognizes that sugar is the fastest way to make energy. Yet for Protein Types it is the least efficient way to make energy. For Protein Types, sugar will cause an immediate surge in blood glucose levels followed by a significant drop. This is especially true if a Protein Type eats sugar on an empty stomach.
Protein Types are the Metabolic Type most susceptible to hypoglycemia. I define hypoglycemia not as low blood sugar, but rather as inefficient energy produced from blood sugar. There is a distinction.
Carbo Types don’t tend to have big sugar cravings, although they can. Mixed Types can have food cravings. It depends on what they are eating.
Lendon Smith, MD in his excellent book “Feed Your Body Right” identifies through the work of the famous chemist, John Kitkoski, that chocolate cravings are a tell tale sign of a need for more magnesium. This may be the reason why so many women have intense chocolate cravings before menstruation.
Dr. Smith points out that people with low levels of the liver enzyme GGT (gamma glutamyl transpeptidase) have an increased need for magnesium due to the fact that GGT is a magnesium dependent enzyme.
Sodium is a primary electrolyte with numerous functions. Low levels of sodium may correlate with adrenal insufficiency, inadequate hydration and poor cellular charge. Excesses of sodium may indicate a need for magnesium and potassium.
A person who craves salt may need more than just sodium. The worst kinds of salt is processed table salt, which lacks any other nutrients besides sodium and chloride. Processed salt is highly refined and often carries toxic metals such as aluminum.
Celtic salt is a very mineral-rich type of salt and is something I recommend to certain individuals.
Salt cravings typically correlate well with electrolyte imbalances. It is common to see people with low blood sodium levels have cravings for salt and salty foods.
Red Meat Cravings
Cravings for red meat may correlate with an increased need for several nutrients including zinc, iron, saturated fat, B-12 and purine-rich nucelo proteins. Typically if a person is craving red meat, I usually recommend that they satisfy their craving.
Women who crave red meat prior to menstruation may simultaneously experience a shift in their Metabolic Type. And this could account for their shift in appetite and eating frequency in such cases.
Making The Right Food Choices
By making the right food choices you are setting yourself up for the right nutrition. The best starting point I have found is to identify your Metabolic Type.
By knowing your Metabolic Type, you can have a much clearer picture of your body’s nutritional requirements. In addition, knowing your Metabolic Type, as I teach it, will show you how to interpret your food cravings as well as how to control your food cravings.