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)  Do a Candida detox

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

If you struggle 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 and do 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 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:

Chocolate Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruit
Sweets Chromium Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken
Carbon Fresh fruits
Phosphorus Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
Sulfur Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Bread, toast Nitrogen High protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans
Oily snacks, fatty foods Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Coffee or tea Phosphorous Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes
Sulfur Egg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables
NaCl (salt) Sea salt, apple cider vinegar
Iron Meat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Alcohol, recreational drugs Protein Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts
Avenin Granola, oatmeal
Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Glutamine Glutamine Supplement, glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice
Potassium Sun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens
Chewing ice Iron Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Burned food Carbon Fresh fruits
Soda and other carbonated drinks Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Salty foods Chloride Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt
Acid foods Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Preference for liquids rather than solids Water Flavor water with lemon or lime
Preference for solids rather than liquids Water You have been so dehydrated for so long that you have lost your thirst
Cool drinks Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Pre-menstrual cravings Zinc Red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables
General overeating Silicon Nuts, seeds
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables
Lack of appetite Vitamin B1 Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
Vitamin B3 Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Chloride Raw goat milk, unrefined sea salt
Tobacco Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
Tyrosine Vitamin 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 clinical nutrition.
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