Encyclopedia of Cravings


This is the fourth Childhood Obesity News post collecting some of the highlights of all the posts about cravings, appetites, yens, and yearnings.

Roads Out of Temptationville” looks at the notion that there are several different ways to approach cravings. A very small spreadsheet with Body, Mind and Emotions as the horizontal elements and Avoid, Protect and Defend as the vertical categories will yield three-squared possibilities, which we described as nine possible roads out of Temptationville. In the quest for a healthy, normal-weight population, every one of them is worth exploring.

Gut Feelings” considered the relationship between cravings and the intestinal tract, and discussed how W8Loss2Go can help a young person, or indeed someone of any age, to unhook and free themselves from problem foods. The post also incidentally mentioned a very sad gastric bypass anecdote.

The Science of Food Cravings” touches on self-medication, impulse control, brain scans, the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex, endogenous mood-correcting chemicals, chocolate, sushi, cognitive defusion, and other relevant subjects.

An excerpt from that post says:

If a person wakes up craving figs, it might be a signal from the body saying, “I need iron.” But the craving for chocolate, in most cases, indicates something entirely different — a need for emotional comfort.

Sometimes food cravings are indistinguishable from withdrawal symptoms. “Cravings Not Gone Yet” mentioned more brain research, concerning addictive substances, and looked at a difference of opinion between two experts over the nutritional deficiency theory of food cravings.

Science has found many examples of how an expectant mother’s diet can affect a fetus. From his clinical observations, Dr. Douglas Hunt traced a childish love for junk food back to salinated commercial baby foods, and from there back to excessive salt in the mom’s diet when she was carrying the child.

Who Has It Worse?” examined the question of which human age group experiences the greatest difficulty in adhering to a healthful diet. Babies in the womb are in the most helpless situation, of course, with zero knowledge and no ability to exercise autonomy. They have to take what they are given, and not expect more nutrients, or different ones.

We also looked at a theory put forward by health columnist Melinda Beck, which features the phrase “embrace and control,” which sounds like a very dangerous way to approach a condition that acts exactly like an addiction. “Embrace and control” is what heroin addicts deceive themselves into believing that they are doing.

Finally, “The Microbiome Gains Ground” explores a whole new realm of possibilities, such as the likelihood that some of “our” food cravings are actually prompted by bacteria in the digestive system that have their own agendas.


Dr. Pretlow will conduct a 90-minute workshop on “Treatment of Child/Adolescent Obesity as an Addictive Process” at the International Conference on Childhood Obesity, July 5-8, in Lisbon, Portugal.

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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