The phenomenology of food cravings

Appetite. 1990 Dec;15(3):231-46. doi: 10.1016/0195-6663(90)90023-2.


A craving for specific foods represents one of the most common and intense experiences surrounding eating. This paper explores the phenomenology of food craving by discussing the properties, origins and determinants of the craving state. The discussion includes consideration of the use of the craving concept in the drug literature and a review of the food craving literature. It is suggested that advances in the understanding of food cravings must address the problem of the definition and measurement of the craving state and proceed with recognition of the inadequacies of the ubiquitous assumption that cravings serve to identify and redress bodily needs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans