A food craving is an intense desire to consume a specific food, stronger than simply normal hunger. According to Marcia Levin Pelchat "It may be the way in which foods are consumed (e.g. alternating access and restriction) rather than their sensory properties that leads to an addictive eating pattern." There is no single explanation for food cravings, and explanations range from low serotonin levels affecting the brain centers for appetite to production of endorphins as a result of consuming fats and carbohydrates. Foods with high levels of sugar glucose, such as chocolate, are more frequently craved than foods with lower sugar glucose, such as broccoli because when glucose interacts with opiod system in the brain an addictive triggering effect occurs. The consumer of the glucose feels the urge to consume more glucose, much like an alcoholic, because the brain has become conditioned to release "happy hormones" every time glucose is present.
The craving of non-food items as food is called pica. Taste addiction disorder is a psychological condition with a biochemical basis in the brain where a person develops an obsessive/compulsive relationship to food. Certain foods are craved more than others because of their glucose content. When the glucose level rises, the brain produces more dopamine, which drenches the brain in "happy hormones". Over time a person can become addicted to the release of the dopamine because this may be their only way of attaining this feeling. Other ways of giving the brain a dopamine bath include, but are not limited to, singing, running, dancing, laughing with other people, or engaging in sex. TAD functions biochemically in a parallel way to other compulsive behavior addictions such as alcoholism, drug addiction, anorexia, bulimia, and sex addiction. Addiction to certain foods has a biochemical basis and evidence because according to the research of Avena and her colleagues "Neural adaptations include changes in dopamine and opioid receptor binding, enkephalin mRNA expression and dopamine and acetylcholine release in the nucleus accumbens." This essentially means that the brain physically changes when it becomes used to consuming a mass quantity of a certain chemical so that the brain can release the highest quantity of dopamine possible.Photo from Featured Project near Food Cravings
Brunel Health Food Intolerance Testing
Many of us suffer from the consequences of food intolerance. Studies show that some 45% of the population is intolerant to one or more types of common food. The symptoms can manifest themselves as a bloated feeling, low mood or skin disorders among many others.
First you provide a few drops of blood, which I send to the Brunel Health laboratory. There it is analysed for reactions to 134 food types.
The report comes back, identifying your personal trigger foods, which we can remove from your diet, replacing them with foods to create a varied, healthy diet that is just right for you.
Brunel Health test for food intolerance in these major food groups:
- Staples & Grains
- Nuts, Seeds & Beans
- Dairy & Eggs
- Oils, Herbs & Spices
- Meat & Fish
- Protein Supplements
For a full list of the food types included in the Brunel Health Food Intolerance Tests, see our Foods Tested page