Food Cravings

By Paleo
In Paleo Tips
Dec 23rd, 2010

There are different reasons as to why people will crave certain foods; this all depends on the individual. The reason behind food cravings can be as simple as not eating the right balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates which your body needs in order to function optimally. Cravings can also be a sign of vitamin or mineral deficiency.

A person who is a protein type (whose body functions optimally on a high protein low carbohydrate diet) can often crave salty or fatty foods. But if a protein type consumes too many carbohydrates in their diet they will find themselves craving sugar. A person who is a mixed-type (whose body functions optimally on a balance of protein and carbohydrates) generally won’t have cravings for sweet or salty foods; but if their diet is out of balance and they consume either too much protein or too much carbohydrates they can find themselves suffering from cravings. A person who is a carbohydrate type (whose body functions optimally on a higher balance of carbohydrates) can crave sugary foods when not enough protein is consumed in their diets.

Another reason craving for certain foods can start could be a sign that the body is deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral. Here is a list of a few common cravings and what nutrients the body may need.



Craving… What your body may really need… Healthy food options that have it…
Chocolate Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, fruits
Bread, toast Nitrogen High protein foods, fish, meat, nuts, beans
Sweets Chromium Carbon Phosphorus Sulfur Tryptophan Broccoli, grapes, dried beans, calves liver, chicken, fruits, chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage Liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach, cheese (not paleo)
Fatty/oily foods Calcium Broccoli, kale, sesame seeds. turnip greens, cheese (not paleo)
Alcohol Protein Avenin Calcium Glutamine Potassium Meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, broccoli, kale, sesame seeds. turnip green, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, bitter greens, seaweed, apricots, bananas, fish, meat
Coffee / tea Phosphorus Sodium Chloride (salt) Iron Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts Sea salt, apple cider vinegar, red meat, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Carbonated drinks (ie. Coke) Calcium Broccoli, kale, sesame seeds. turnip greens, cheese (not paleo)
Salty foods Chloride Raw goats milk (not paleo), fish, sea salt
General overeating Zinc Silicon Tryptophan Tyrosine Red meat, seafood, leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach, cheese (not paleo), green vegetables, red fruits

5 Responses to “Food Cravings”

  1. Swintah says:

    You’ll have to chalk me up to needing salt when I crave sweets. I can control my cravings just by pouring a little bit of salt into my hand and eating it straight, usually chased by a little water. I also find that I need to salt all my meals to keep from having cravings in the first place.

    • Paleo says:

      It would be good to aim to lower your salt intake as a high consumption of salt is not healthy, salt is also not part of the paleo diet and should be used sparingly in paleo recipes. If you find food bland without salt, it is likely not because the food is bland, just that you are so used to a high salt content in the meals.

  2. Christina says:

    Hi There,
    Stumbled across your site and love this post. I’d like to pass the information along to friends and clients. Where did you find the original information? Anything published? What are the sources?

    Also, I’d like to know more about why I crave fatty foods and salty foods on the paleo diet. (I’m definitely a protein type).

    Many thanks,


  3. V says:

    Hi, I keep craving ice cream. Would it be fat and sweets? I keep craving for sweet and creamy texture. Any substitutes?

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