Why am I craving donuts? The Science Behind Cravings

Wednesday, 7th February 2018


“I’m craving donuts. But why?”

The simple answer is that you’re hungry, and donuts are delicious! But it goes beyond that.

We all get cravings.

donut craving, craving donuts, donuts

We’ve all been there. It’s midnight, you can’t sleep, and you have a sudden craving for something sweet. So you head down to the kitchen and open up the fridge.

Then one of 3 things happens. Either:

A) You find the perfect sweet treat to sate your hunger;

B) You don’t have what you’re looking for and go back to bed hungry; or

C) You don’t have what you’re looking for and grab something else, which doesn’t satisfy your craving.

It can be frustrating, so how do you beat these late-night (or anytime of day) cravings? The first step is to understand them.

And if you’re craving donuts late at night, it’s easy to satisfy your sweet tooth – simply order donuts from Shipley Do-Nuts by ordering online! That’s right – we are open for orders 24/7! So you can satisfy your donut craving anytime of day or night. We even offer donut delivery, so you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to get the sweet treats you crave.

Get Donuts Delivered Now!

Is a Craving Telling Me I’m Just Hungry?

donut craving, craving donuts
It’s important to note that hunger and cravings are two different things. You can be hungry, but not want anything in particular, or have a craving, but not really be very hungry. In other words, they’re not mutually exclusive. So let’s break it down.

What is a Craving?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a craving as “a powerful desire for something.”

Also called “selective hunger,” cravings are an intense desire to eat a certain food, and it is not the same thing as normal hunger. Research suggests it may be related to specific hunger, a drive to consume specific nutrients, a phenomenon studied extensively in the animal kingdom.

Fun Fact: Pica is when someone starts craving non-food items as food.

It is well-known that the brain responds positively to indulgence in sweet treats – it releases dopamine, the “happy hormone” often associated with love and satisfaction.

That’s because up until the advent of artificial additives, sweet flavors signified calorie-dense foods. ‘If you’re sitting there on the savanna and trying not to be eaten by something else, you want to be able to make a quick decision about what’s good to eat,’ says Steven Munger, an associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Maryland. A sweet snack indicated that not only was it probably not poisonous, it also would provide ample energy.

This is also why children tend to prefer sweets more than adults – it is linked to development. As a small child, you need more calories and nutrients to grow properly.

Women are more likely than men to have a sweet tooth.

chocolate, donut craving, craving donutsWhy do cravings happen?

While there is no one, single, agreed upon cause for cravings, research suggests that it is linked to your body’s need for nutrients, as well as brain activity. Certain foods contain certain nutrients. Depending on what your body needs, you may feel a craving for something like chicken when you have low protein levels.

Foods with a lot of glucose are craved more often than foods with lower glucose levels. Examples include chocolate vs. broccoli. There’s a clear winner here.

craving donuts, donut craving

Your brain loves glucose. When glucose interacts with your brain, it triggers those happy hormones. Your brain wants more of that feeling, so it seeks out whatever causes it – in this case, donuts.

A great example of this is cravings triggered by advertisements on TV or elsewhere.

Ever seen a commercial for donuts and suddenly had a craving? Us, too.

Fun Fact: Chocolate contains lots of iron, which is often depleted during a woman’s menstrual cycle, thus explaining “period cravings.”

Satisfy Your Donut Craving

What is Hunger?

Hunger is the physiological state of needing to eat food. On the other side of the coin is sateity, which is the feeling of being full.

“Hunger pangs” begin 12-24 hours after the last time you ate. These are different from cravings and occur as contractions within the stomach, usually lasting about 30 seconds each. These continue for awhile and may also include emotional changes such as anger or irritability.

Periods between hunger contractions tend to increase as you get older.

Most intense in young, healthy people, hunger pangs signal low blood sugar levels (more intense in diabetics). These feelings don’t just disappear, either – in fact, research suggests that hunger – if not sated – never goes away.

craving donuts, donut craving, Houston donutsWhat is my body doing when it’s hungry?

When you’re hungry, your body is saying, “I need food to give me the nutrients I need to function!”

Two hormones control your hunger: leptin and ghrelin.

  • Leptin regulates your energy levels by inhibiting hunger.
  • Ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone” or lenomorelin, is a peptide hormone created in the GI tract. It regulates your appetite, as well as the distribution and rate of energy use.

When you haven’t eaten in awhile, your leptin levels drop. This drop causes the release of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin – which makes you feel hungry.

When you finally eat, adipocytes, or fat cells, release leptin into your body, thus reducing your hunger. These fat cells are designed to store energy as fat.

Why Hunger Happens

The human body needs food and water to survive. While, hypothetically, a person can go more than 3 weeks (about 30-40 days) without food and survive, the actual estimate depends upon body size, amount of body fat, and your activity level. Unlike plants, we cannot gain nutrients from sunlight and thus, need food to survive. You cannot live off of fat reserves, either.

According to Brit Lab host Greg Foot, the average 154-pound man burns about 1,690 kilocalories a day, and that’s even if he does nothing other than sit on the couch.

While extremes have been reached by people like Mahatma Ghandi and others, it is extremely unhealthy to fast for long periods of time like this. The human body needs nourishment to survive! So make sure when those pangs hit, you’ve got something delicious to fill your stomach!

Satisfy Your Donut Craving With Delicious Donuts from Shipley Do-Nuts Houston!

Now that you understand why you’re craving them, satisfy that need with a delicious order of donuts from Shipley Do-Nuts. It’s easy to order – either visit one of our convenient Houston locations or order online! Check out our menu and pick from a large selection of scrumptious favorites.

Order Donuts Online Now!

Why I’m Craving Donuts: The Science Behind Craving Donuts | Shipley Do-Nuts[:]


We deliver where
your heart desires

Visit Shipley Do-Nuts at 12403 Westheimer (between Dairy Ashford & Kirkwood) not only for the best hot, pillowy soft Shipley Do-Nuts you’ve ever wrapped your lips around but also all varieties of fresh, warm kolaches offered 24 hours a day at our Houston donut shop.