Craving something salty? What does your body really want?


I wrote over on TreeHugger about bacon as a gateway meat for vegetarians and it sparked a bit of curiosity in me. Why does bacon have such seductive powers over even the most hardcore meat haters?

"[B]acon is one- to two-thirds fat and also has lots of protein, it speaks to our evolutionary quest for calories," Johan Lundstrom, a scientist who runs a lab at the Monell Chemical Senses Center said on NPR. "And since 90 percent of what we taste is really odor, bacon's aggressive smell delivers a powerful hit to our sense of how good it will taste. There's an intimate connection between odor and emotion, and odor and memory. When you pair that with the social atmosphere of weekend breakfast and hunger, bacon is in the perfect position to take advantage of how the brain is wired."

So that's bacon, but why do we crave other foods? What makes you crave an ice cream cone sometimes but not others? Why does a big fat juicy steak sometimes overwhelm our thoughts? Remember that our bodies our always in survival mode. Often we can crave certain foods not just because of smell but because we are deficient in certain nutrients.