What Your Sweet and Salty Cravings Really Mean

Sweet Treat for a Sweet Tooth

Our cravings aren't random, but rather a way in which our bodies communicate with us on a daily basis. In fact, your sweet tooth is rarely about the cookie or cake, but attached to something deeper. And if you find that you turn to processed, packaged foods as a result of your cravings, there's a reason for that too. 

The food companies are smart (and corrupt). Their primary concern is making money. The ingredients they use in their products are to keep you coming back for more (i.e. become addicted to them). The combination of manufactured fats, salt and sugar is the perfect cocktail to create those reward signals in your brain. Thus when we eat them, it makes us happy. The benefits are primarily mental and rarely physical because they hardly carry any nutritional benefits. Bottom line: these foods aren't what your body really needs.

Instead of being a passive consumer, it's about feeling empowered to take back control of your health. So when it comes to your cravings specifically, the trick is to tune in, listen to the signals your body is sending you, then respond in a nutritious way. Your body is a very smart machine, and it is always trying to get back into balance if something is off. 

Salty: Physiologically, we need sodium for survival. It's an important mineral for adrenal and thyroid function. When we crave salty, usually that means that we are stressed, our adrenals are taxed, and we are needing sodium for homeostasis. 

Sweet: When it comes to craving sweet, it could be your body's cry for energy. Think about it: glucose (the chemical makeup of a carbohydrate) is our body's natural form of fuel. Therefore it is important to try and pinpoint what might be going on...maybe you haven't been sleeping well, or it's that 4pm energy slump (blood sugar imbalance), or you're just plain tuckered out.  Is it the Girl Scout cookie that you need? Or can you satisfy your sweet tooth in a more beneficial way (fruit, sweet vegetables, rest, going to sleep). 

Some food for thought. And here is how I love to satisfy my sweet tooth: all I need are three things...a juicy Medjool date, a pat of nut butter, and a high quality square of dark chocolate. Layer...savor...enjoy! 

Sara McGlothlinComment