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02nd Apr 2022

According to science, this is what most women crave when they are pregnant

Trine Jensen-Burke

pregnancy cravings

When I was pregnant (both times), I had a very wide spectrum of cravings.

Which resulted in some pretty hefty arguments with my partner over how many erratic and crazy requests he could be expected to fulfil, and also ended up costing us hundreds of euros in petrol…

You see, one of my (many) cravings was Caesar salad (which I think had something to do with the dressing). The problem is that it could not be just any aul’ Caesar salad. Oh no. It had to be the one they serve in TGI Fridays. In Blanchardstown. This particular piece of the puzzle just baffled my other half, as we happen to live pretty much across the road from the branch in Dundrum. But you see; their Caesar salad just didn’t do anything for me and my have-to-have-it cravings.

So this, naturally, resulted in A LOT of trips up the M50 – all for Caesar salad. Crazy, I know. But what can you do; if you got to have it, you got to have it. (Note: I felt almost the same about sour worm candy…)

But the comfort, I guess, is that I am far from alone in the crazy club.

Salty for the win

In fact, in the world of wacky cravings, it turns out the vast majority of us crave the same type of food. According to science, the most craved thing for pregnant women is salty food. (The Caesar salad dressing in Blanch was pretty salty, come to think of it…)

Seems we cannot get enough salty stuff in general when we are in the family way, and popcorn, pretzels, and chips all rate high among food women say they just have to have. And now researchers in Portugal claim to have found the trigger. And to do so, they studied flies. Yep, that’s right.

“To best understand the brain and nutrients you need to look at an organism that has a variety of technology,” says Dr Carlos Ribeiro from Portugal who headed up the study. “In that respect, the fruit fly is unbeatable.”

Through the research, Ribeiro found that fruit flies not only crave the same amount of salt as humans but also that higher salt levels meant a higher production of offspring. Meaning; if you up your salt intake, your body produces better babies.

Apparently, a female brain is really clever (Duh! That’s hardly news.), and actually knows that the body needs to produce more salt in order to produce more eggs. So it changes what it thinks about salt and decides it wants more. Mind. Blown.

Back to the flies, Ribeiro says that they showed that the men ‘inject’ a sex peptide into the female and this actually manipulates her perception of salt.

So, let’s see if we got this right; the explanation for craving salt is that it can allow for more egg making. And men inject something into us which can change our perception of salt. (Well, that’s what the flies do, anyway!) And so when we are pregnant, we literally just want all the salt so we can have all the babies. Crazy. (But we like the fact that we can blame this one on men. And science.)

What was the craziest craving YOU had when you were pregnant?