Food & Nutrition

What Your Food Cravings Secretly Reveal About Your Health

Craving soda pop?


Many a person swears they can’t go a day without their Coke or Pepsi. While you may love the fizzy sweetness, what you’re most likely craving is the caffeine hit. One serving of Coke provides 30 mg of caffeine—enough to give you a nice wake-up jolt but not enough to make you jittery. A less common reason for soda cravings is a calcium deficiency. The phosphoric acid in carbonated drinks can leach calcium and magnesium from your bones, creating a vicious cycle of depletion and craving, according to WebMD. These are signs you might be drinking too much caffeine.

Craving potato chips?

iStock/john shepherd

Potato chips and their hot cousin, French fries, are two of the most commonly reported food cravings but downing bags of the fatty junk foods may be a signal you’re low on healthy fats, says Taylor Newhouse, RD, of the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Of particular interest are omega 3’s. Our bodies don’t manufacture the fatty acid so to get our daily requirement we have to eat it in foods like salmon and other fatty fish. Or it may mean you need more healthy fats in general and you’re not getting enough foods like avocados, nuts, and olive oil.

Craving water? 


If you’re super thirsty chances are you’re just dehydrated and your body is telling you to pick up the slack with your water bottle. But if you’re always craving the wet stuff it could signal a deeper issue like diabetes. Excessive thirst and urination are one of the earliest warning signs that your insulin levels are out of whack, according to the Mayo Clinic. Extra sugar builds up in your blood, making your kidneys go into overtime to process all of it. When they can’t keep up, it gets excreted through your urine which in turn makes you thirsty again. These are other symptoms of diabetes to pay attention to.

Craving pretzels?


Salt cravings can be a sign of a mineral deficiency, according to a study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior. Specifically, women who reported the highest amount of salt cravings were found to have the lowest levels of calcium, magnesium, and zinc. In addition, a insatiable craving for salt can be a sign of Addison’s disease or Bartter’s syndrome, especially if the cravings come with other symptoms like exhaustion, weight loss, and skin discoloration. Here’s what restaurant chefs do to lower sodium in food without affecting taste.

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