WSJ: "How to Fend Off a Food Craving"
- ipsedixit Sep 17, 2012 09:07 PM
From the WSJ: "New Research Challenges the 'Body Knows What It Needs' Theory; Where Men Differ From Women"
Money quote from the article:
For decades, researchers surmised that food cravings were the body's subconscious effort to correct nutritional deficiencies. Longing for steak could indicate a need for protein or iron, according to this theory. Chocoholics might be low on magnesium or other mood-altering chemicals that chocolate contains, including phenylethylamine, a compound humans produce when they're in love.
But a growing body of research casts doubt on the nutritional-deficiency notion. After all, few people crave vitamin-rich green leafy vegetables and many other foods contain more phenylalanine than chocolate—including salami and cheddar cheese.
Instead, studies show that food cravings involve a complex mix of social, cultural and psychological factors, heavily influenced by environmental cues. While chocolate is consistently the most-craved food in North America, Japanese women are more likely to crave sushi, a recent study found. And only 1% of young Egyptian men and 6% of young Egyptian women reported craving chocolate, according to a 2003 survey. "Many other languages don't have a word for 'craving.' The concept seems to be uniquely important in American culture," says psychologist Julia Hormes at the University at Albany.
Graphic below of survey results (albeit a dated one and one from our Northern neighbors).
Read it all here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000...
I crave brussel sprouts. No joke. Craving some right now. Roasted with salt and pepper and some lemon juice...
Sugar, and specifically the fructose component, is a big part of the problem of craving more than the body needs. See Dr. Lustig's lecture, Sugar: The Bitter Truth.
Weird. I frequently crave vegetables (spinach, crunchy lettuce, carrots; this past week it's been eggplant) and fruit (watermelon seems to be most common, but also have craved other melons like honeydew, as well as pears or apples). I also crave the crappy stuff, but I'd say it's actually 50-50 for me. Just as likely to crave the "good" stuff.
ETA: So by "weird" I mean the article's assumption that few people crave vegetables.
" "Many other languages don't have a word for 'craving.' The concept seems to be uniquely important in American culture," says psychologist Julia Hormes at the University at Albany. "
I find that that last part interesting! I am in South Korea now and am always stumped when I want say, "I was craving [ ]" in Korean. There is no word as far as I know. The words i do see in a Kor/Eng dictionary mean more like "desire" and I've been told it sounds awkward in a food craving context. I'll have to rephrase my sentence to "all of a sudden, i really wanted to eat such and such." So much behind the scenes work to say, i was craving pizza.
Hmm. I remember having major cravings for milk and ice cream after having surgery for a broken hip when I was 13 - over forty years ago. Only time I've ever felt that way, and it went away after a few weeks. Had pneumonia on top of the injury and lost about 12 pounds before my appetite came back, but I'm sure I needed the calcium.
1. about twice/year i crave high-end frozen yoghurt [Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia is amazing; but, i haven't been able to find it since i moved from NJ to the Bible Belt] or sorbet...preferably an unusual fruit...or some related not-too-fattening choice...e.g. Gelato...my all-time favorites are coconut or green tea ice cream, but too fattening...if you live near a Spanish mercado look for coconut popsicles...to die for...
2. on a more regular basis [ at night] i crave tofu hot dogs [2 of them] drowned in great dijon + bread & butter pickles...i really like this combination with chopped white onions...but not at night...
As cravings go, I just read an article on hyperpalatables in a personal training magazine. It talks about our cravings for salt, sugar and fat. Which explains why most cravings are junk food and not vegetables. In the article I read, it compared the responses of rats who crave hyperpalatables to those that craved drugs. I can't find the article online yet (it will appear in a few weeks) but this is along the lines.