Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more
Let’s face it: Cravings are a normal part of life.
But should you be worried about an intense urge to indulge in a certain food more often than not? Like, say… peanut butter?
If you’re craving a specific item, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
So, what does a peanut butter craving mean?
Food cravings can be a result of dieting, or they can be your body’s clever way of telling you it’s low on something essential, like a certain nutrient, vitamin, or mineral.
But what causes a peanut butter craving, and how can you keep it under control? (That is, if you prefer not to tear into a jar RN #YouDoYou).
Peanut butter’s rich in nutrients, and your body may be signaling an underlying nutritional deficiency.
Phytonutrients, like beta-sitosterol, are also found in peanut butter. One study on animals found that beta-sitosterol has antidepressant properties and it may help temper anxiety by stabilizing a hormone called cortisol, which gets released when you’re stressed.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, animal studies have shown that stress can cause cravings for high fat foods, which is why your instinct may be to grab that comfort jar of Skippy.
Livin’ a low carb lifestyle? Low sugar peanut butter gets the stamp of approval for most low carb diets. It’s taste, texture, and nutritional makeup make it a popular carb substitute.
Having a penchant for peanut butter isn’t a sign that something’s wrong with your health. But that doesn’t mean you need to shy away from talking to your doctor or nutritionist about your cravings: If it’s something you want to discuss with them, go ahead.
Got an emotional reason for reaching for that jar of Jif? If you’re using peanut butter to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression, talking it out with a therapist can help.
Peanut butter may be delicious, but it’s also chock full of calories. If you’re trying to lose or manage weight, overindulging in peanut butter isn’t going to help.
Choosing peanut butter alternatives may help curb your cravings, and introduce a variety of healthy fats, fiber, and carbs into your diet.
Consider these foods to help keep your PB cravings in check:
- dark chocolate
- sunflower seeds
- low sugar yogurt
- whole-grain or sourdough bread
Consider these activities if you think depression, anxiety, or stress is behind your craving:
When it comes to your cravings, you’re not alone. Plenty of peeps reach for that creamy (or crunchy!) peanut butter time and time again. But peanut butter isn’t the only crave-worthy food that folks find themselves reaching for.
|I’m craving…||What it might mean|
|burgers or meat (or veggie alternatives)||Your iron levels are low.|
|candy & sweets||Your blood sugar levels are low.|
|cheese||You’re not eating enough fats or you’re low on calcium.|
|salty foods||Your sodium levels are low or you’re stressed.|
|chocolate||You need a pick-me-up or you’re experiencing PMS cravings.|
|ice||You’re stressed or your iron levels are low.|
|ice cream||You’re experiencing digestive problems or tummy troubles.|
|pasta||You’re low on nutrients or calories.|
|pickles||Your sodium levels are low or you’re dehydrated.|
|spicy foods||Your metabolism is out of sorts.|
Remember: These are just possible reasons. Just because you’re craving something doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. You may just want a certain food simply because it’s delish, and that’s OK. If you think you may be deficient in something or you have a concern, talk to your healthcare provider.
Craving specific foods, like peanut butter, is super common. While craving peanut butter doesn’t pose a health risk (unless you’re allergic to nuts!), craving it can be a sign of an underlying issue.
Your peanut butter craving may be your body’s way of signaling a nutritional deficiency. Or it could be signaling a different issue.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are also reasons folks reach for comfort foods like PB. Investing in your self-care and talking to a therapist may help.
And sometimes, craving peanut butter is just because you really want some delicious peanut butter! So, enjoy. If you’d prefer a lower calorie option, there are many nutritional alternatives to peanut butter like the items listed above.