Ever wonder to yourself, “Why am I craving meat?”
We’ve all heard red meat is bad for your heart, so you might feel confused. Why do you crave something that’s potentially bad for your heart?
Fortunately, not all meat is bad and your food cravings for meat could mean several different things.
Yes, your meat cravings might mean that you are lacking certain nutrients. Or, you may be on a restrictive diet and simply feel deprived of meat!
Culture plays a big role in food cravings too.
Here are the top 8 reasons you are craving meat:
1 – Lack Protein
The protein hypothesis developed by researchers in Australia hypothesizes that animals strive to get a specific average of protein in their diet.
Specifically, scientists noted that various groups of animals all get around 15% of calories from protein.
When their average levels of protein dropped from 15% the animals would then regulate their protein intake by eating more protein until they averaged 15% again.
Therefore if you lack protein, you could easily start craving more red meat.
The most likely reason when you craving meat, it means you are longing for something that is packed with protein and will give your body the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Meat is an excellent source of protein and provides the body with all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle tissue.
A hearty steak or burger will do just that! Oh, and chicken is great for cravings too!
2 – Meat Deprived
Of course, another reason I craved meat was because I wasn’t eating any meat!
Many studies show that avoiding or not eating a certain food leads to greater cravings for that food.
For example, a 2017 article in Obesity looked at what happens if you restrict different types of food.
The scientists found that if you are on a high-carb diet and restrict meat (and other protein sources) you’ll have a higher likelihood of craving meats.
While there are plenty of people who can eat Vegan or Vegetarian and avoid meat altogether, not everyone can avoid meat without cravings.
If you are craving meat, it could be because you are starting a new meat-free diet and your body feels restricted.
3 – Low In Vitamin B12
It’s possible you crave meat because you are low in vitamin B12.
Good news though. It’s pretty easy to boost your vitamin B12 levels.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in high amounts in animal products such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. However, foods that lack animal products do not contain Vitamin B12.
This means that even if you eat those dark green leafy vegetables we talked about earlier for iron, you still could be deficient in Vitamin B12!
This is important to know because Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in the production of your red blood cells and regulation of blood sugar, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system health.
Unfortunately many vegans and vegetarians may not be getting enough Vitamin B12 because this vitamin is found in animal products.
This is why a lack of vitamin B12 could explain your cravings for eggs or for meat, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.
4 – Low In Iron
Back in college I got meat cravings but I was vegetarian so I didn’t eat any meat.
As a vegetarian I thought I was supposed to be ‘healthy’ but instead I felt very fatigued.
It turned out that I had anemia, a blood condition when you lack proper amounts of iron in your blood.
My doctor told me to start eating more meat and to take some iron supplements.
I started eating meat and taking iron supplements. About a month later, my iron levels returned to normal. My food cravings for meat went down too.
I stopped the iron supplements after my craving went down and they haven’t come back since!
Meat contains lots of iron so it makes sense that if you have low-iron in your blood you’ll crave meat.
And if you are vegetarian, you can also get iron easily from plant sources. For example, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are high in iron.
5 – Culture Factors Behind Craving Meat
So far we have primarily talked about meat cravings from a nutritional perspective:
- Low iron
- Not enough B12
- Low protein
We also talked about ‘meat restriction’, which is harder to measure in comparison to nutrition and more of a mental deprivation factor.
Even more difficult to measure are various cultural factors that may affect someone.
For example, in North America chocolate is widely reported as peoples’ #1 food craving.
However, a study showed that in Egypt only 6% of young women and only 1% of men reported craving chocolate.
This means that one may get a meat craving but perhaps not because of nutritional factors!
Simply the culture one is a part of can impact different cravings for foods.
6 – Flavor
Another reason people crave meat is because of the delicious flavors.
There are so many different flavors of meat to choose from, it’s hard to resist! From the savory taste of steak, to the sweet taste of pork, there’s a flavor for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for something spicy or something mild, there’s a meat flavor out there that will satisfy your craving.
So next time you’re feeling a craving for meat, remember that it’s not just about the protein. It’s also about the delicious flavors that come with it! So go ahead and indulge yourself in a nice juicy steak, or some succulent pork chops. Your taste buds will thank you!
7 – Texture
The texture of meat is unique. It can be cooked in many ways, boiled, fried, and even baked. Each method of cooking gives the meat a different texture. The most important thing to remember about meat is that it should be cooked properly so that it does not become tough.
Ever been to a restaurant and been asked if you want your meat cook medium, well, etc?
They ask because all the different textures of meat vary from person to person!
Side note – please know veggie meat is getting way better taste and texture!
8 – Childhood memories
Do you remember your parents grilling for you on holidays like the 4th of July?
Maybe you recall picnics where the rest of the extended family came over and your father cooked everyone up a burger and hot dog.
Often we subconsciously crave for our childhood and if you had positive memories with meat growing up this could impact your cravings today.
Of course, memories alone don’t explain food cravings.
But, memories in combination with a lack of protein can help make sense why you’re craving meat!
Is craving meat a sign of pregnancy?
Interestingly, this means meat cravings may be a sign of pregnancy, but perhaps not as well.
When pregnant, a woman essentially eats for herself and the growing newborn.
This means she needs to eat more protein and consume more iron and B12.
If her blood levels lack these nutrients she could develop meat cravings. And she may also develop cravings because her blood sugar levels are low and she needs more calories too!
However, point 5 above shows how her craving could be culturally induced:
A woman who is pregnant might expect from a cultural perspective that she should crave meat and other foods like chocolate, and therefore she “thinks” her way into craving more meat and/or chocolate!
Craving Meat Meaning – Summary
Craving meat could be a sign of anemia, which is a lack of iron in the blood. It could also be a sign of protein deficiency, or simply a result of cultural factors.
If you’re hunger for meat and you’re vegetarian, you may be low in vitamin B12 or you may be deprived of meat (like you secretly want it but feel you can’t). Either way, it’s important to understand your the meanings behind your meat cravings.
Most likely there are several factors at play.
Cooked meat tastes great and that could be why you’re craving it. Maybe you need some protein in your diet too. Throw in a love for a certain texture of meat, plus a fondness for meat from your childhood memories and bam!
That’s why you’re craving meat!
With some cheese on top, even lactose free cheese, and some pickles … yum yum!
When something tastes good and gives you a nice, satisfied feeling it makes total sense why you’re craving meat.