A food craving is an intense desire to consume a specific food, and is different from normal hunger. It may or may not be related to specific hunger, the drive to consume particular nutrients that is well-studied in animals.
Craving certain types of food or getting put off by certain smells or tastes are also common during pregnancy. Though nutritionists believe that this can be combated by eating a well-balanced diet, many women do feel the urge to eat something specific which they normally won’t. The cravings for certain types of food are linked to their ingredients. Chocolate or sugar cravings for example, contains the amino acid phenylethylamine, which is important for the regulation of the body’s release of endorphins.
Theories claim that many of the cravings women sometimes have for strange foods during pregnancy can be attributed to important nutrients that are required during that specific period. One of the treatments for morning sickness consists in accommodating food cravings and aversions. It’s not that the body actually needs the specific food you are craving, but it may need something in that food. And your taste buds just interpret it as a craving for something specific.
Studies show that the high hormone levels present during pregnancy can alter both a woman’s sense of taste and smell. So certain foods and odors can not only be more enticing but in some cases more offensive; a problem that often plays out as a pregnancy food aversion. While some pregnancy cravings can certainly seem a bit odd, in most instances, they don’t represent any real threat to mother or the baby. This, however, can change dramatically, when the craving is for a nonfood item. The condition, known as pica, can lead to an overwhelming desire to consume any number of substances, some of which can be extremely harmful to both mother and baby.