Heatwave cravings explained: why our eating habits change during hot weather

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Have you ever found yourself craving certain foods when it's hot out? There's a reason for that. [Photo: Getty]

Summer is a time for lighter foods - nobody fancies a dense stew during a heatwave.

But, do we lean towards certain foods because of tradition, or are our food fancies dictated to us by our cravings?

It turns out that it’s a little bit of both.

READ MORE: Why do we need to sleep with a blanket when it’s hot?

Many experts believe that it all comes down to hydration.

In the summer, we tend to be more active and thirstier. This means we crave sugary, thirst-quenching food and drinks.

Our bodies know that sugar produces a quick hit of energy and that’s why we often opt for a nice cold glass of lemonade in the heat, rather than a glass of water.

Our salt cravings work in the same way.

READ MORE: What happens to your body when you get too hot?

If you have a salt craving on a hot day it might be because your body has sweated out too many electrolytes.

The same principle applies for people who fancy salty foods after they exercise.

Drinks with electrolytes in them have become very popular in recent years, with people choosing to drink those over eating salty food.

READ MORE: 9 heatwave mistakes we’re all making

It’s not just about what our body lacks or craves, though. Sometimes it’s just down to social settings.

In the winter it’s unlikely you’ll see an ice cream van coming down your road. Over time, your brain will start to associate the ice cream van with summer.

This will make you fancy an ice cream in the summer, whereas you’ll probably go the whole winter without even thinking about it.

Equally, it’s unlikely you’ll be sitting in a beer-garden in mid-December, so your brain won’t associate a nice cold cider with that time period.

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