Most of us have experienced a food craving at one point or another in our lives. A craving is more than just feeling like eating something. It’s an overwhelming desire that can seem inescapable until you get what you want. The foods that we crave can act like a compass giving us clues as to what might be going on a little deeper. These are the most common ones that I see in clinic and what they could mean for your health.


Probably the most common food craving! It could be a sign that your magnesium stores are low. Cacao (the base ingredient used in chocolate) is actually a rich source of magnesium, so each time you eat chocolate, your body is getting a little magnesium hit. Supplementing with magnesium to correct this deficiency will often see this craving disappear. Chocolate can also be linked to strong emotional responses, providing a ‘little bit of sweetness’. If your chocolate cravings have just started, think about what area of your life may not be going as expected. Work on finding a solution for this.


This craving can either present by you adding salt to food or choosing salty foods like chips, crackers or preserved meats. Salt enhances the flavor of foods. When our zinc stores are low, we struggle to taste and smell things properly, so we look to the salt to bring foods to life. Foods that are naturally high in zinc include oysters, sesame seeds, pepitas and pine nuts so try including these regularly.


Think bread, noodle-filled soups, toast, rice or bowls of cereal. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy so when we crave them, our body is usually looking for fuel. This can be driven by poor blood sugar control, which usually means you are not eating enough fat or protein at other times of the day. Always try to pair your carbs with some protein and fat, for example, if you are having a sandwich, try to include some meat, chicken, fish, cheese, egg, tahini or pesto with your salad.

On a different note, carbs are typically pretty filling. Sometimes we crave carbohydrates to ‘fill a hole’ because we feel something is missing from our lives. The next time you get the urge for a piece of toast (even though you just ate an hour ago), ask yourself if you are really hungry or if there is something niggling away that has you feeling ‘unfulfilled’ (Hint: work and relationships are usually a good starting point to think about).

Weird Cravings!

If you’re having slightly more exotic cravings, it is worth chatting to a health professional. A medical condition called Pica is where people experience cravings for things like dirt, ice, clay, paper, hair, metal, rubber or soap. This is most commonly experienced in pregnancy, but not exclusively and can also show up in childhood and adolescence. It is heavily associated with iron deficiency anaemia so further testing and investigations should be done.