Why You May Be Craving Chicken

A craving, which is an intense urge to eat a certain food, can emerge at any time, whether hungry or full, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Although many people have cravings, they affect each person differently, says Medical News Today. Sometimes, seeing or smelling is all it takes to trigger your cravings. A 2020 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience notes cravings are a conditioned response to food, usually accompanied by neural and physiological responses.

If you're constantly craving a particular food, various factors can be at play. For example, hormonal fluctuations can cause women to experience food cravings during menstruation and pregnancy. Other causes include emotions (comfort eating), and non-selective hunger (the urge to indulge in anything) and, stress levels. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology reiterates that food cravings mediate the relationship between chronic stress and increased BMI. Beyond these general factors, a constant craving for foods like chicken might have more specific causes.

What causes chicken cravings

If you regularly eat fried chicken, you might have higher cravings since fried chicken contains high fats. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, high-fat and sugary diets are hyper-palatable and can interfere with how the brain works. Usually, they stimulate the reward regions of your brain, influencing your food choices and eating behaviors.

Healthline reiterates that fried chicken is among the most addictive fatty and sugary foods plaguing people with food disorders. Apart from the hyper-palatable nature of these junk foods and how they influence your diet choices, they also contain high amounts of calories. Such foods can significantly upset your blood sugar levels, causing you to crave them more, says Healthline.

If you crave chicken specifically, you might have a nutritional deficiency. The relationship between nutrient deficiencies and food cravings might be compelling; however, it can play an active part, per this 2020 study published in the journal Current Nutrition Reports. According to WebMD, chicken is a source of protein and different B vitamins, including B3 and B6. Lacking these nutrients might cause you to crave more of them.

Interestingly, your chicken craving might be due to your gender. Men and women respond to cravings differently. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Advances in Therapy, men are more likely to crave savory foods, while women prefer chocolates and other high-fat sweet foods. Since chicken is a savory food, you might be craving it more than other foods if you're a guy.

How to reduce food cravings

Akin to every habit, the longer you succumb to your cravings, the less strong you become in taming them. WebMD advises against going cold turkey since you might end up eating too much. In other words, your plans to deprive yourself of a particular food might backfire. Indulging in your cravings less frequently can be a more sustainable option, says WebMD. The source also recommends using portion control when managing a food craving. This means not keeping tempting foods at home. You may eat less of a particular food if it requires going out and purchasing it rather than opening your fridge and indulging yourself.

According to MedicalNewsToday, various factors can explain why you crave a particular food, and the way forward will usually depend on the causative factor. For instance, stressful situations might cause you to crave certain comfort foods like chicken. So reducing stress levels might help with the cravings.

Another method is to drink more water. Since drinking water hydrates the body, your food cravings might reduce when you improve your water-drinking habits. 

Some people also choose to chew gum to prevent overeating. According to MedicalNewsToday, gum chewers are often less hungry and have fewer cravings for snacks.