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Research AND logic needed for useful solutions

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Research AND logic needed for useful solutions

I'm sure you've all heard this one. Or at least something similar. The reason why it's funny is that we’ve all done it. Faulty logic can lead to faulty decisions.

Every morning, a man wakes up early to put a chalk X on every sidewalk square leading to his house. One morning, a curious neighbour goes outside and asks him why.

The man is surprised. “To keep elephants away, of course!”

The neighbour is stunned and says, “But there are no elephants here.”

The man triumphantly replies, “Exactly! It’s been working for years.”

That sort of explains some of the simplified charts that we see on the internet. Sometimes they are based completely on “logic” without any testing, research or science to support their claims.

Often people with sensory issues or autism have specific food desires. Unfortunately, the chosen foods may have little nutrition. Some of our comfort foods can cause damage, as can be the case with our much-loved mac’n’cheese.

Yes, the food industry spends millions to create addictive food but maybe we can flip our cravings around and see if we can learn something from them, learn which nutrients we’re lacking.

Unfortunately, simplified charts like the one above, might not be useful as hoped.



We love salt, fat and sugar. We're hard-wired to go for those flavors. They trip our dopamine networks, which are our craving networks.

~Michael Pollan


Gollum is entirely based on the notion of addiction. The way that the ring pervades him, makes him craving, lustful, depletes him physically, psychologically and mentally.

~Andy Serkis


Thoughts to Ponder

The main problem with many charts like the one above is the faulty logic of:

If I’m craving X and X has a lot of Y nutrient, then I must be deficient in Y nutrient.

That thought process could be true but we also need to look at if the food has been processed to cater to our naturally occurring addictive tendencies, our associations between specific food with certain emotions, the texture or smell of the food etc.

And, if we’re deficit in nutrient Y, are we craving other foods with nutrient Y? Or satisfied once we eat the other nutrient-dense foods?

So why do we like charts so much? They save time and brainpower. Scroll to below the signature to see the research done to find support/non-support of the info in this simple chart. Lots of time and some brainpower.

NOTE: I'm not saying that the chart is wrong. What I am saying: it's not necessarily correct.


Craving: chocolate (not considering sugar which could also be present)

Deficiency: magnesium

What to eat instead: nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits

There is no consensus between chocolate cravings and magnesium deficiency. Chocolate is rich in magnesium, but so are many types of nuts, which magnesium-deficient people rarely crave. Magnesium deficiency causes numerous issues as it’s involved in many activities.


Craving: sugary food

Deficiency: chromium

What to eat instead: broccoli, grapes, cheese, chicken

People with diabetes have lower chromium levels in the blood. Chromium has an important role in enhancing insulin activity. Chromium deficiency includes confusion and impaired coordination.


Craving: sugary food

Deficiency: carbon

What to eat instead: fresh fruits 

Carbon is a component in sugar, but it might be the sugar hit, not the carbon that’s causing the craving.


Craving: sugary food

Deficiency: phosphorus

What to eat instead: chicken, beef, fatty fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, veggies, grains

Phosphorus is used by the cells to make energy. Lack of it has a range of issues from anxiety to joint stiffness.


Craving: sugary food

Deficiency: sulfur

What to eat instead: cranberries, horseradish, cabbage, cauliflower

Sulfur helps remove the toxins in the body. It’s the third most common mineral in the body, following calcium and phosphorous, so is part of many functions.


Craving: sugary food

Deficiency: tryptophan

What to eat instead: cheese, raisins, sweet potatoes, spinach

Tryptophan is one of the precursors for serotonin. Reduced tryptophan leads to a host of neuropsychological issues.


Craving: bread, pasta, and other carbs

Deficiency: nitrogen

What to eat instead: high protein food, meat, fatty fish, nuts, beans, chia seeds

Nitrogen deficiency causes cravings for refined carbohydrates. Nitrogen is required to make proteins, DNA, and RNA.


Craving: oily food

Deficiency: calcium

What to eat instead: organic milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables

Studies showing the relationship between oily food and calcium deficiency were NOT found.

However, some information exists for oily food craving and low fat intake.


Craving: salty food

Deficiency: chloride

What to eat instead: fatty fish, goatmilk

In one study, it was found that chloride-deficient infants tend to have a stronger preference for salty food.


Craving: salty food

Deficiency: silicon

What to eat instead: nuts, seeds

Most nuts and seeds have high amounts of silicon but no info found on the silicon content of cashews. One source listed cashews with zero silicon content.


The connection between cravings and solution isn’t always as direct as the chart would have us believe.

That being said, part of reducing my sugar/grains/carb cravings involved eating more proteins and greens. I may’ve had nutrient deficits but there wasn’t a 1:1 relationship.

As we all know, eating a whole food diet is best. Sometimes charts like this one can be helpful. Sometimes the info they share is true. But it’s up to us to research the information and use our logic to decide if it fits our needs.

Whether you have a week of deficits or abundance, I know you can find some balance along the way.

Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,

P.S. I share healthy food tips here not only to support good physical and mental health for you, for anyone with neurological issues, specifically those on the autism spectrum or those with sensory issues, but also for me. I still struggle to make healthy food choices.

If one of your loves is canned drinks, use our Snap Capps to keep it fresh, keep insects away and/or prevent spilling. Durable and functional. Check them out


Links used to verify information found on the chart

After seeing this long list, it's understandable why we love shortcuts. 😉


Craving: chocolate Deficiency: magnesium

Craving - sugary food Deficiency - chromium,juice%20contains%208mcg%20of%20chromium.,-Chromium%20deficiency%20is&text=Symptoms%20may%20include%20weight%20loss,deficiency%20may%20involve%20chromium%20supplements.


Craving - sugary food Deficiency - carbon,and%20a%20Harvard%20Medical%20School


Craving - sugary food Deficiency - phosphorus,but%20both%20are%20good%20sources.,egg%20yolk%20,RDI%20(27%2C%2028).,amounts%20in%20vegetables%20and%20fruit.


Craving - sugary food Deficiency - sulfur,glucosinolate%20family%20of%20plant%20compounds.,American%20Institute%20for%20Cancer%20Research.


Craving - sugary food Deficiency - tryptophan,also%20good%20sources%20of%20tryptophan.,Carbohydrate%20content%20is%2058.12%20g.


Craving - bread, pasta, and other carbs Deficiency - nitrogen,Poultry%2C%20including%20turkey%20and%20chicken


Craving - oily food Deficiency - calcium


Craving - salty food Deficiency - chloride,milk%2C%20cashews%2C%20and%20seeds.


Craving - salty food Deficiency - silicon,milk%2C%20cashews%2C%20and%20seeds.





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