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Do I crave a certain food because my body needs its nutrients?

Abby Ellin
Nutrition & Dietetics

Maria Pelchat, an associate professor at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a private research facility in Philadelphia, says that people often claim they crave a certain food for nutritious reasons. So she decided to investigate, placing a group of healthy young adults on a liquid diet rich with vitamins, minerals, and calories. Still their cravings were as strong as ever, suggesting that “nutritional deficits are not necessary for cravings.” This means that chocolate isn’t sought after because it has magnesium, but for psychological reasons. The body “drives them in the direction of food, usually food with sugar and fat,” said Adam Drewnowski, who researches food cravings at the University of Washington’s Center for Public Health Nutrition in Seattle.

Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In on Living Large, Losing Weight, and How Parents Can (and Can't) Help

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Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In on Living Large, Losing Weight, and How Parents Can (and Can't) Help

We've been inundated lately with books and articles about childhood obesity. Most offer cultural critique or nutrition and exercise advice — in tones that are alternately appalled and patronizing....

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.