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Do we crave what we need?

  1. Dec 10, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    When I was a kid, we had a puppy that started chewing on the edges of a concrete slab. She actually managed to do a little damage - enough so that we finally asked the vet if there might be something wrong. He gave us a calcium supplement for her food and explained that dogs will seek a source of any mineral or nutrient lacking in their diet. I was thinking about this the other day while craving a Nirvana chocolate. So is the conclusion obvious? :biggrin: To what extent might this be true in humans; assuming of course that our vet was correct. If this does happen in humans, how can one tell if a craving is due to a need, or a want? And generally, why do we crave anything if we don't need it?

    Note that the dog did stop chewing on the concrete almost immediately, as I recall.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2005
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  3. Dec 10, 2005 #2


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    One reason we crave what we DON'T need is that modern commerce and technology have provided us with substances that are chemically very similar to the endorphins that our brains generate to handle pain and provide "feel-good" rewards to us for doing biologically helpful things. Plus our ancestors had a sweet tooth because they needed high-energy foods in their high work-to-calorie intake ratio life styles. Now that we don't have to excercise just to feed ourselves, the craving for extra sugar is a defect.
  4. Dec 10, 2005 #3


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    I read in Scientific American, that it has been proven that cravings for pickles, chocolate, yogurts, etc.., are purely psychological and have nothing to do with what nutrients you actually need at the time.
  5. Dec 10, 2005 #4
    the body can be adapted (i.e. addicted) to anything if exposed to it long enough. If from birth you only eat mcdonalds for every meal and soft drinks for hydration and nothing else, when you are hungry or thirsty guess what you'll crave. Your body craves things for different reasons, not all are legitamately a good decision.
  6. Dec 10, 2005 #5
    i wonder about the extensiveness of their understanding of the human organism...

    "eat eggs... no, don't eat eggs... eat butter.. no, margerine... no, butter... drinking wine everynight means you are a "diseased" alcoholic... no, actually it means that you are helping your heart, so it's good!!"

    now, the food pyramid has changed too.

    there is much to doubt about biological nutritionists, it appears. they seem to make claims at the turn of every new discovery, yet fail to see the organism in a whole perspective; as a totality in time.

    we must face that there is far more we don't know than what we do "know", and stop making claims that directly influence the lives of organisms on this planet. the claims are not made from wisdom, but scientific superficialities. no?
  7. Dec 11, 2005 #6
    Just a comment about the food pyramid since it was mentioned. The food pyramid is approved by the government. The government has to make a balance between what has been shown to be a healthy diet for humans and the industries its pyramid will effect. You see milk and beef have a lot of muscle and therefore I wouldn't trust the recommendations made by the government. The best food pyramids are the academic ones.

    Here's a good one
  8. Dec 13, 2005 #7
    thanks! i bookmarked it.
    i also find it very valuable to examine the cultural philosophy behind the generation of the food pyramid, in relation to other, cultural philosophies which have generated other "food pyramid-like" things.

    for example: the philosophy of the Ayurveda is profound and thorough; founded much in wisdom (rather than the predominate objective knowledge of western science).

    various philosophical foundations can be complemented and thereby provide better understandings in both, or all, cultures.

    philosophy really is the base.

    thanks again!
  9. Dec 13, 2005 #8


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    Not as much as turkey and chicken.
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