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Good Question: Where Do Food Cravings Come From?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Pizza, nachos, ice cream -- when it comes to food, we all have our favorites.

And depending on the time of day, we may crave one type of food over another.

"We are just descendants from cave men, so it was all about survival," said Christina Meyer-Jax, a registered dietician.

And she means that in the most complimentary way. Meyer-Jax says our ancestors needed to gather foods that were high in fat with a lot of calories.

"Broccoli is nutrient dense but it's not really calorie dense. So if I was a caveman, I knew that I needed to get something that was high fat and a lot of high calories so that I can survive days on end without getting food," she said.

Meyer-Jax says that mindset is still in our DNA, and it's a big reason why some people crave sugar over salt and vice versa.

Biochemicals, stress, sleep and exercise are also factors. So is our exposure to certain foods.

Hormones also play a big role when it comes to cravings.

"When you are pregnant you are on hormone overload, so that's going to drive some of those sweet and salty cravings," she said.

Meyer-Jax says women who are pregnant are carrying extra water, so they'll often crave salty foods.

For the rest of us, she recommends eating small amounts of food every few hours.

"KIND Bars have a little bit of that chocolate to satisfy your cravings, but also nuts and foods that are going to fill you up," Meyer-Jax said. "If you keep your blood sugar even throughout the day, that's going to set your body up for success so that you aren't rummaging through your cupboards at 8 at night."

She also says you shouldn't feel guilty eating foods with a lot of sugar or salt, but the key is to eat a small amount ever day, which can help cut down on the bad cravings.

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