Why do I crave candy?

Our bodies are one big chemistry experiment, so there are many reasons why we crave certain foods when we do. Some of us may need fuel in the afternoon after a long day at school, while others notice they have weird cravings when the weather changes (for example, we get hungry when it’s brrrr winter!). And, of course, if you’ve started your period, you may want certain snacks then, too. Still other kids crave comfort foods when they’re stressed out or going through a big life change. Is there any rhyme or reason to explain why this happens? Well, the jury is still out. Some experts believe that your body craves certain types of food when it needs nutrients. For example, if chicken sounds really yummy, you may need some protein. Want yogurt? Maybe your body needs calcium. Other experts have a different view—they believe that most food cravings are emotional. (After all, your body doesn’t ever need a low-nutrient Twinkie.) “We have social attachments to food,” explains Martica Heaner, exercise physiologist and author of Cross-Training for Dummies (Wiley, 2000). “When you’re at the movies, you yearn for popcorn. Or when you get home from school, you think longingly about the quick sugar boost a Snickers can give you. We train ourselves to expect certain snacks for specific occasions.” So whatever your flavor—carbs (power bars, candy bars), fat (cheese, mozzarella sticks), salt (chips) or sugar (soda, hard candy)—your cravings, especially the junky ones, are probably based more on your personal preferences than on your nutritional needs.

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by GL | 2/1/2016