What It Really Means When You're Craving Pasta

Fettucini alfredo, penne alla vodka, and of course the classic spaghetti and meatballs — is your mouth watering yet? Pasta is a go-to comfort food for many. Besides being relatively inexpensive and simple to prepare, it just feels good to tuck in with a big bowl of carbo-loaded goodness. As it turns out, there are some scientific reasons behind this.

study published in the research journal, Obesity, found that foods high in carbohydrates release a chemical in your brain called serotonin. Serotonin has been found to boost your mood by easing anxiety and depression, so it's no wonder why you might be hankering for a pasta fix (via Healthline).

How sensitive your taste buds are to carbs may also influence your cravings. Russell Keast, a researcher out of Deakin University in Australia, told The Healthy, "Individuals who are more sensitive to the 'taste' of carbohydrate also have some form of subconscious accelerator that increases carbohydrate or starchy food consumption."

Other reasons behind your cravings

Your body's main goal is to stay balanced. Too much or too little of a certain vitamin or mineral could be the difference between feeling your best and not being able to get out of bed (per Everyday Health). It's been thought that if you are lacking a balance of nutrients in your system, your body may respond by craving certain foods, although this is up for debate (via Healthline).

A big reason you may be craving a big bowl of spaghetti is that you've just started a diet and have been limiting your pasta intake or restricting it altogether. According to a 2020 study published in Current Nutrition Reports, participants who were told not to eat certain foods temporarily reported a stronger craving for them. This finding was corroborated by registered dietitian, Gabbi Berkow, who told Livestrong, "Making a food forbidden creates a stress response in your brain around that food because you're constantly telling yourself not to eat it. The brain alleviates that stress by giving in to the craving."