What does a sudden and passionate desire to eat a certain product mean?
Did you have to get up in the middle of the night with an overwhelming desire to eat a cheese sandwich, such as a sausage, a piece of chocolate, or something else?
Every person at least once in his life had an inexplicable craving for any particular product. One of the most popular theories says that this phenomenon is related to the lack of certain substances in the human body, and we want exactly the products that these substances contain.
And how does science explain this phenomenon?
The mechanism that regulates the feeling of hunger, and so is quite complicated, and even each person has their own characteristics or disruption of the mechanism. Therefore, it is impossible to say with absolute and complete confidence why we want to eat a certain product before certain periods of our lives before death.
However, to dispel some of the myths associated with this phenomenon – this is please. Thus, studies have shown that the passionate desire of a product is completely unrelated to the level of certain nutrients in the body (except for rare violations when a person breaks down to eat earth or clay to replenish iron or zinc reserves).
At present, experts are inclined to believe that a strong desire for a product arises as a result of a combination of a whole set of psychological, social and cultural factors that are closely related to external stimuli. Of course, this sounds more like a vague departure from an answer than as an answer. However, let’s look at a few examples, and (hopefully) everything will become much clearer.
In the list of the most “desirable” products of a European woman, chocolate takes the first place (unlike Japanese women, for example, who have sushi in the first place). 50 percent of women claim that the desire to eat chocolate becomes stronger at the beginning of the “critical days”. If this were due to the presence or absence of nutrients in the body, then after menopause or shortly after taking these nutrients, the desire should disappear. A large-scale survey conducted in 2009 showed that it is not. Then why women want chocolate so much during this period?
Most likely, the reason lies in “raising your spirits” with the help of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are released during the consumption of sweets and carbohydrates.
Approximately the same story happens with the passionate desire of other specific products. But in order to understand how it works, you must first understand what determines the emergence of the usual feeling of hunger.
Usually, hunger is regulated by a complex system of hormones and neurotransmitters, for the most part by releasing the hormones of the hypothalamus in the brain and circulating the hormone leptin, produced by fat cells.
The onset of hunger can be preceded by, for example, an increase in insulin levels, which, in turn, is associated with a decrease in blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that almost before each meal, glucose levels fall by about 10 percent.
In addition, the release of the hormone ghrelin can lead to feelings of hunger. And neuropeptide Y and anandamide stimulants can also make you run to the fridge.
However, if the body wants to give you a signal that it is full, it begins to intensively produce leptin, which “dampens” the effect produced by neuropeptide Y and anandamide. It is easy to guess that a lack of leptin can lead to overeating and catastrophic weight gain.
Different types of products also play a significant role in how much we eat. As we already mentioned, certain foods can help make you feel a little happier. As a result, a kind of dependence on a certain type of food may develop.
The consumption of protein foods, for example, produces the amino acid tyrosine, which, in turn, promotes the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline. And dopamine is the main chemical substance responsible for pleasure.
Consumption of carbohydrates – sweets, all sorts of cakes or pasta, leads to increased insulin production, which allows you to “clean” the blood of some amino acids. There remains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is converted in the brain into serotonin. And serotonin helps us feel happy.
The eagerness of a pregnant woman towards a specific food also has nothing to do with nutritional deficiencies. As studies have shown, and here the reason lies in hormones, the level of which in pregnant women is significantly different from non-pregnant. These hormones are the reason that the tastes and smells during the carrying of the child are perceived much sharper. Moreover, a pregnant woman can form such food addictions that she could not even imagine before the pregnancy.