Emotional trauma, cravings and unhealthy eating habits go hand in hand. Experts advise that if you have constant cravings and unhealthy eating habits, you may need to rewind some parts of your life and do some fixing. There may be more than what appears on the surface.
People with eating disorders may perceive themselves as having weird eating patterns or cravings, but experts say this isn’t always true. They say if it’s not your body crying for certain nutrients, it’s an emotional hunger. Janene Sacks, a registered dietician based in Johannesburg, explains that an unbalanced diet denies the body all the nutrients it needs to function properly. “Unhealthy choices can result in minimal or limited nutrients entering the body. A craving could be the body’s way of calling out for a specific nutrient or for a meal, if eating patterns are irregular,” she explains.
Janene says constant cravings can reveal poor eating habits, dehydration or nutrient deficiency. Eve Sigalas, a clinical psychologist at Highlands Recovery, a rehabilitation centre treating addictions, including food addiction, adds that emotional turmoil might be one of the contributing factors. “There may be struggles with control, complicated family dynamics, or perhaps underlying feelings of powerlessness and despair. Losing control over your eating may be a result of all these issues combined,” says Eve.
COMMON NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES RESULTING IN CRAVINGS
Pica – People having an eating disorder called Pica crave substances like ice and soil. Pica is a result of lack of iron, zinc or calcium in the body.
Sodium deficiency– You might be craving salty foods because your body lacks sodium.
Magnesium deficiency– Alcohol abuse, poor diet and lack of vitamin D results in a magnesium deficiency. Having this deficiency may result in your constant craving for chocolate.
Calcium deficiency– If your body is not getting enough calcium, it will draw some from the bone and you might end up getting diseases like osteoporosis because your body is eating away the bone mass. Craving chocolate maybe a sign that you have a calcium deficiency. Food cravings can also be a result of stress as some people tend to eat more when they are stressed.
MANAGING YOUR EATING PATTERNS
Experts explain that some individuals’ brains have a tough time detecting that the stomach is full and they may eat even when they are not hungry. In this case, it is advisable that you drink a glass of water whenever you feel hungry and wait for half an hour before consuming more food. Eve urges you to be aware of your eating habits and deal with any irregularities. Experts explain that people struggling with an eating disorder run the risk of various life- threatening ailments and all that comes from either depriving the body of a nutritious food or flooding it with high fat or high sugar diet, that may lead to obesity