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View Full Version : Food cravings and nutrient deficiencies


Gittit Shwartz
02-28-2008, 11:33 AM
I was wondering about the possible link between food cravings and nutrient deficiencies.

I've had cravings for the same specific foods for as long as I've been Paleo (about 3 years). I don't say this proudly but I've been known to go through an entire jar of peanut butter (natural and Skippy too) or tehini (sesame butter) in one sitting - and I'm little. I crave other nuts too but not as strongly.

I try to eat internal organs (usually liver) once or twice a week. I usually get a hankering for it about that often, then can't stand the thought of it for a few days. I noticed when training volume gets high the cravings become more frequent and intense. I've seen this pattern of sudden intense cravings vs. revulsion with mushrooms too but can't relate it to training.

Case description: Several months ago I did a few weeks of a Velocity Diet variation - I used whey protein, milled flax seeds, 36g high quality fish oil a day, no other supplements, only coffee twice a week. I felt great on the diet, was not hungry and as far as fat loss goes it was a spectacular success (I went from ~18 to ~12% bodyfat). BUT - as soon as the diet ended I got insane cravings that lasted weeks for very specific foods: peanuts, tehini, and of all things, dairy products. I just couldn't stop. Needless to say I gained all the fat back and then some.

I have a few connections in mind - choline and/or phosphorous for the peanuts/sesame/liver, candida/mold allergy for peanuts/dairy - but can't seem to find any actual research on the subject. Have any of you had similar experiences? Persistent or specific cravings?

Dr. G, I'd be especially interested in your thoughts.

Garrett Smith
02-29-2008, 10:40 AM
Gittit,
The same aflatoxin-producing mold is found in sesame and peanuts (http://www.springerlink.com/content/g3276748140236l5/).

The extent of your cravings following the V-Diet could very well be a reaction to the strictness of the V-Diet (a "rebound" effect).

Allen Yeh
02-29-2008, 10:57 AM
Gittit,
The same aflatoxin-producing mold is found in sesame and peanuts (http://www.springerlink.com/content/g3276748140236l5/).

The extent of your cravings following the V-Diet could very well be a reaction to the strictness of the V-Diet (a "rebound" effect).

I shall report upon my completion of the V-diet as to mine or my wife's crazy cravings.

I know that my last solid meal of steak, baked sweet potato and broccoli was the best freaking steak I've ever had though.

Gittit Shwartz
02-29-2008, 01:03 PM
Dr. G, thanks for your reply. So perhaps it would be a good plan to stay away from nuts and seeds for a few weeks?

Allen, best of luck to the two of you! I haven't seen anyone on t-nation reporting any crazy cravings (besides broccoli), or a rebound unless they had set themselves up to fail from the start. But could be they are lurking on the forums and afraid to come out. I had to modify the diet quite a bit (no casein to be had in the holy land) so who knows.
Though I found the strict and limiting aspect of the diet to be liberating, I guess it would be wise to plan a tight transition off.

Garrett Smith
02-29-2008, 01:56 PM
Gittit,
I'd suggest staying away from the peanuts and sesame, yes. Upping your intake of any natural antifungals and/or pro-liver supplements or whole foods would also likely show positive results, depending on the cause. Neither can hurt, if done within sane ranges, of course!

Gittit Shwartz
02-29-2008, 04:01 PM
Garrett, thanks for the lead! I will add probiotics, raw garlic and coconut oil to my regimen, and see if it helps. Are there any liver support supplements you would recommend?

This has been a persistent problem, and I want to get to the bottom of it.

Garrett Smith
03-01-2008, 01:19 PM
Gittit,
One of my favorite liver supplements is Siliphos, which is silybin from milk thistle BOUND to phosphatidylcholine (aka lecithin). It can be found in many different supplements for the liver.

If you wanted to go whole food, dandelion root (tea or as a food) and beets are also good for the liver. A quick Google on "liver food" or something similar could give you even more ideas.

Also, if you didn't already know, in order to maximize the benefits of garlic, press/dice and add it to cooked dishes as close to the time you will be eating it as possible (this is especially true for cooked dishes).

Gittit Shwartz
03-01-2008, 01:55 PM
I usually quarter a clove of garlicand swallow the pieces like pills. I think I read about this trick on a thread here. Freaks people out to see this but if you think about it, it's better than swallowing a small mineral stone (vitamin pill)!
Dr. G, thanks again for the advice. I'll give it a run and report how I feel!

Gittit Shwartz
04-04-2008, 06:11 AM
Liver and mushrooms - chromium is a possible link:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/rss/pto-20031014-000003.html