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What Your Cravings Say About Your Health

What Your Cravings Say About Your Health

One of the most frustrating things about trying to change your eating habits is dealing with cravings. Whether you have cravings for salt, sugar, or even vegetables, these cravings can easily derail thoughtful eating plans, tempting you to reach for foods that are often unhealthy.


Today, we’ll explore cravings, and show you the genetic basis for why we can’t seem to ignore the foods we crave so strongly.

Learn About Cravings from the Eating Insights Report

At GenoPalate, we believe that the more you understand your body and your genetics, the easier it will be to avoid stress eating and stick to a healthy diet. One of the newest ways that we’re helping customers do that is with our Eating Insights Report.


This report details the various ways that your genes impact your eating habits, including what foods are healthiest for your body, and how you can eat to have more energy. The information within the report will help you develop a personalized nutrition plan that will encourage better food choices.


One of the most important aspects of eating that’s covered in the Eating Insights Report is a breakdown of the various types of cravings, and how they’re influenced by genetics. Here are the four types of cravings you may read about in your personalized Eating Insights Report.

Fat Craving

Craving fatty foods is common among many individuals. The longer a person abstains, the more likely it is that their cravings will get worse. Fats and fat-soluble vitamins are an essential part of any healthy diet, and often cravings for these high-calorie foods are linked to nutritional deficiencies.


However, fatty, high-calorie foods are often associated with emotional eating, since there is an underlying genetic link that can make people more likely to crave these types of foods. Select genetic variants also make it harder for some people to feel satisfied, even after a larger meal. Many people with this genetic variant reach for high-calorie fatty foods because they associate them with satiety.

Carb Craving

Since carbohydrates are our body’s preferred source of energy, a lack of carbohydrates will often stimulate a craving that makes us reach for bread, crackers, potatoes, or any other easy carb. However, the more we give in to these cravings, the faster our blood sugar will spike, increasing our stress levels. This leads to overeating and potential weight gain.


Often, a craving for carbs is linked to already elevated levels of stress, as well as low levels of serotonin (our brain’s ‘feel good’ hormone). We can also crave carbs if we’re following a restrictive, low-carb diet – in that situation, our body is trying to tell us that we need a quick energy boost. Genetics plays a role as well: certain genetic variants have been associated with an increased preference for carbs, as well as an altered taste experience with certain foods, contributing to a preference for the simpler taste of carbohydrates.

Sweet Craving 

Having a sweet tooth isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Some people have genetic traits that are associated with increased dopamine signaling after the consumption of sugar. This sends a stronger impulse to their brain that increases their likelihood of reaching for sweets.


Sweet cravings can also be a result of low blood sugar, which leads to a vicious cycle. The more simple carbs and sweets you eat, the faster your blood sugar will rise then drop again, leading to another period of low blood sugar that starts the cycle all over again.

Protein Craving 

Protein cravings are another type of craving that’s often associated with a restrictive diet. If you aren’t getting enough nutrients in your diet, this prevents your body from getting the energy it needs. Sometimes, people also crave protein because of the unique texture it provides. Often, this is your body’s way of reminding you to vary the foods you consume. 


Certain genetic variants are also linked to an increased preference for protein-rich foods, leading people to consume more of them on a regular basis.

Explore Your Cravings and Encourage Healthy Snacking with the Eating Insights Report

It’s important to understand and deal with cravings instead of just ignoring them. If you’re able to learn about your cravings and understand why they occur, you can work with them to incorporate them into a healthy snacking and eating plan. 


Want to learn more? Explore a personalized Eating Insights Reporttoday.

Updated on
Photo of Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson

Medically reviewed by:

Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson, Ph.D., RD

Kristin is an RDN who also earned her Ph.D. in Nutrition from Arizona State University with an emphasis on insulin resistance, lipid metabolism disorders, and obesity. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Mayo Clinic where she focused on nutrition-related proteomic and metabolic research. Her interests include understanding the exact mechanism of action of various genetic variations underlying individual predispositions to nutrition-related health outcomes. Her goal is to help all individuals prevent chronic diseases and achieve long, healthy lives through eating well.

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