Food Cravings and What They Mean by Dr. Sara Detox Toronto Naturopath
Blog Fitness + Nutrition

What Your Food Cravings Are Telling You?

January 6, 2016

Why is it that so many people have food cravings?

Generally, women crave chocolate and men enjoy wings and beer.

It amazes me how food cravings can sway even a rational human mind.

If you’re tired of feeling at war with your food cravings, I have some great tips that may help you.

Let’s identify the root cause of food cravings and 5 ways to beat them.

(1)  Consider a Candida detox

Sugar is the most common food craving. Have you ever considered that the yeast Candida may be driving your intense desire for sweets?

If you struggle with carbohydrate cravings, a Candida blood test may be a good idea.

The Candida Panel is a test that we offer at the clinic. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact us.

Candida is a type of yeast that can cause unbearable cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.

A solution to dealing with this specific craving is to starve the yeast with a Candida Cleanse.

(2)  Keep healthy snacks on you at all times

Put them in your car, at your desk, and in your gym bag.

Healthy options include power balls (made with nut butters, coconut oil, and cocoa), nuts and seeds, hummus and rice crackers, or fruit.

(3)  Eat every 4-6 hours (unless you’re doing intermittent fasting)

Ensure your meals/snacks consist of good fats and protein.

Eating clean is not always easy, since there’s more prep involved. You may have to wake up early to pack foods for your day.

Although it may seem like a lot of work (initially), it’s worth it. Healthy meals packed with nutrients may help get rid of afternoon fatigue and sugar cravings.

(4)  Stay well hydrated

Most people don’t drink enough water.

As a result, they feel thirsty, but commonly mistake being ‘thirsty’ for being ‘hungry’.

Sip plenty of lemon water and herbal teas throughout the day.

One of my favourite teas is yerba mate. This tasty South American tea suppresses the appetite, helps balance blood glucose levels, and boosts metabolism. A definite plus!

(5)   Listen to your body

Your cravings may indicate a nutrient, vitamin, or mineral deficiency.

For example, an iron deficiency may be why you’re craving steak.

Check out the chart below for more information to help you understand specific food cravings.

This chart has been referenced in many different sources and is commonly used by Naturopathic Doctors.

I’m sure it will help you understand the complex world of food cravings.

If you crave this…

What you really need is…

And here are healthy foods that have it:

ChocolateMagnesiumRaw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruit
SweetsChromiumBroccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken
CarbonFresh fruits
PhosphorusChicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
SulfurCranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
TryptophanCheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Bread, toastNitrogenHigh protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans
Oily snacks, fatty foodsCalciumMustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Coffee or teaPhosphorousChicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes
SulfurEgg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables
NaCl (salt)Sea salt, apple cider vinegar
IronMeat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Alcohol, recreational drugsProteinMeat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts
AveninGranola, oatmeal
CalciumMustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
GlutamineGlutamine Supplement, glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice
PotassiumSun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens
Chewing iceIronMeat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Burned foodCarbonFresh fruits
Soda and other carbonated drinksCalciumMustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Salty foodsChlorideRaw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt
Acid foodsMagnesiumRaw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Preference for liquids rather than solidsWaterFlavor water with lemon or lime
Preference for solids rather than liquidsWaterYou have been so dehydrated for so long that you have lost your thirst
Cool drinksManganeseWalnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Pre-menstrual cravingsZincRed meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables
General overeatingSiliconNuts, seeds
TryptophanCheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
TyrosineVitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables
Lack of appetiteVitamin B1Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
Vitamin B3Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
ManganeseWalnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
ChlorideRaw goat milk, unrefined sea salt
TobaccoSiliconNuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
TyrosineVitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetable


  • Lectures, Cheryl M. Deroin, NMD, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Spring 2003 (healthy food recommendations)
  • Benard Jenson, PhD, The Chemistry of Man B. Jensen Publisher, 1983 (deficiencies linked to specific cravings and some food recommendations)
Dr.Sara Celik
Dr. Sara Celik is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and is the Spokesperson for Renew Life Canada. She is a leader in the health and wellness industry and is regularly featured as a sought-after expert on television programs and in health publications. Dr. Sara carries over 15 years experience and her private practice and work in the community is focused on digestive health, detoxification, and women's health.
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