Your 3pm vending machine trip might seem like habit, but what you pick can actually be an indicator of a health problem. Dietitian Olivia Bates (therightbalance.com.au) decodes what your snack says about you...
Blame it on a sweet tooth, but there could be another reason chocolate is on your radar. ‘Cravings for chocolate are most commonly associated with magnesium deficiency,’ Olivia says. ‘[It’s] on the rise due to the increasingly magnesium-deficient soil, as well as the incidence of gut issues, which can interfere with the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.’
Trying to stick to a low-fat diet? Hankering for cheese might be a sign you’re taking things too far. ‘Craving cheese is usually a sign of calcium or essential fatty acid deficiency,’ Olivia says. ‘People need to get more good fats in their diet – the best sources are those containing omega-3s, such as flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and
oily fish including salmon and sardines.
Skip the packet of chips, and drink a bottle of water instead! ‘We often mistake hunger for thirst and dehydration. Craving salt can signify you’re dehydrated – as salt helps your body retain water,’ says Olivia, who adds it can also be a sign of ‘deficiency of other minerals such as zinc, calcium, sodium, magnesium and other trace minerals’.
Did you know you’re more likely to binge after taking antibiotics? ‘Sugar cravings may signify an overgrowth of bad bacteria or yeast. This often follows a course of antibiotics,’ Olivia says. Also, having your period is a legit excuse for raiding the lolly jar! ‘The decrease in serotonin levels prior to menstruation can also cause an increase sugar cravings in attempt to improve mood.’