Why do I crave acidic foods? Health benefits?

by 3142 · June 26, 2014 at 07:26 AM

I've asked a question before about craving pickle juice, but I believe a question a bit more broad in scope is needed. I crave acidic foods, always have- pre-paleo and post-paleo. However, more so post-paleo.

Pickle juice, tomatoes- especially canned and in juices, mustard, vinegar ... you name it and I probably like it.

So, my question: Why do I crave acidic things? Should I ignore this and just go with it? What is the biology behind it (I don't think I need to adjust the pH of my stomach ... but who knows)? Is it good? bad? neutral?

Any advice or thoughts welcome. Thank you. :)

Total Views

Recent Activity

Last Activity


Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

10 Replies

21258 · May 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM

I don't really sign on to the old "Instinctivore" movement where a specific craving meant you were deficient in something - if that was the case, I would be a chronic sufferer from a lack of tacos and french fries.

The only "craving" that I think has merit, are mineral cravings (craving salty, specifically) - which can show signs of an electrolyte imbalance.

Don't discount that your taste buds probably just like salty/bitter/tangy.

And much of those foods are "ok" on paleo. Although vinegar is a "grey area" on traditional 1.0 paleo, I put Apple Cider in almost all my broths, wet-cooked roasts (and braises), prepared greens, and even use it for shampoo and aftershave (to combat skin issues).

Try a low-sodium food (mustard or vinegar) to see if that curbs your craving. I know when I was trying a leangains protocol it was suggested to drink water with Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar in it to help curb harsh hunger pangs. With ice it's pretty refreshing.

If it doesn't, then you may have some issues with your electrolyte balance.

0 · June 26, 2014 at 07:26 AM

I crave acidic foods as well, although probably not quite to the degree you do. This is what I found about craving acidic/sour foods:


Craving Sour Foods

This craving is not actually as common, but if you are abnormally drawn to sour foods, this suggests an imbalance in your Wood energy. The Wood element is related to the Liver and Gall Bladder in TCM. These energy systems are in charge of ensuring the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. When they are out of whack, all sorts of problems ensue, including irregular menstrual cycles, headaches and migraines, tight neck and shoulders, sleep problems, feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety, and problems with eyesight. In moderation, sour tastes can actually be good for people with these issues. But if you are abnormally drawn to sour foods, try to cut back so as to allow your Wood element to flow without inhibition.

  • Substitute: Rather than eating artificially sour candies and soda drinks, try incorporating citrus into your diet. Citrus has a natural sour taste but also is good at circulating energy in the body, which is what a Wood pathology lacks. Also, eat as many dark leafy greens as possible.

10920 · March 20, 2014 at 09:15 PM

Maybe Because it aids in digestion of protein and you eat a lot of protein. ?

0 · March 16, 2014 at 09:51 PM

Came up with this yesterday, better than a straw because I can tilt my head back while drinking. The lemon juice still reaches the back teeth considerably and even if I flush a lot after, my mouth tastes more acidic maybe up to 15 minutes after. I have been trying to drink without swallowing, but I just can't get it done without making a mess.

Also lemon juice is expensive. I drink over 2 Euro worth now per day, that's 62 euro a month + about 4 euro for the black and green tea (buy it by the kilo), water heating not included. And I used to pay 36 euro for cola. Now the cost almost doubled.

I hope the other acids I ordered are more manageable and less aggressive to the teeth. Phosphoric acid was 16 euro per kg including shipping, so that's nothing if it really lasts a thousand days. Vitamin B5 is 150 euro per kg, so about 5 euro per month supposing it really works against the issue. I just ordered anything every so remotely related, which I have not yet consumed in ridiculous quantities.

Also I noticed that I have to drink the lemon juice at least every hour to be somewhat constant.

As expected it entirely stops the cola, vinegar and acid food cravings. Also I use no sweetener, I always hated that they put so much of it inside cola. The black/green tea mix tastes better than cola and even better with lemon juice inside but that is tooth-nightmare :( .

Still, I can't figure out why my body would require so much acid. And why the biologically mostly irrelevant phosphoric acid would work somewhat better than citric acid, which doesn't even have phosphor but also works. It just makes no sense at all in terms of metabolic chemistry. Maybe because it is hostile to bacteria or yeast in my gut? But then my immune system is awesome and eating stuff doesn't really influence it. No matter the explanation, it is all too far fetched.

Just remembered when I was a kid, maybe 6 or 8, and not allowed to drink any cola I would always drink the whole bottle of lemon juice in a day when my mother bought some (the normal sized ones are 0.25L here). Made my teeth hurt of course, didn't care about that. She didn't buy it often sadly, too expensive.

If someone ever finds this post who has the same problem, write me a message.

UPDATE: Spamming my body with lemon juice, farted like crazy this morning, feeling not exactly good about it. Nervous system related things improve slowly and slightly, digestion complains understandably. Unsure if the improvement is just random. Also there always has been a small rash-alike area on my chest between the breast muscles which visibly got smaller. Not sure if that is random as well. Time will tell. Ordered citric acid monohydrate today, super cheap. Maybe combining the acids (like in diet cola) makes even more sense. Will probably end up messing my body entirely up on the weekend with too much acid, just to see what that does.

I read that citric acid supposedly works against kidney stones. Maybe there really is truth to some kind of organ drain cleaner logic behind all this. I have eaten extreme amounts of aspirin in the more distant past though and that didn't really yield any comparable effects despite actual blood acidosis. Makes me believe the effect must at least be somewhat metabolically related.

UPDATE: Phosphoric acid arrived yesterday, but I was cautious at first and didn't really drink much of the stuff. Now got about 1.5g into a single cup, tastes not even as acidic as lemon juice. I drank more than half of it in a few minutes. I am getting strange distinct effects in my body, somewhat relating to the nervous system and rather immediate. I feel more attentive but I am not entirely sure if this all is good or bad. Trial and error will tell. Digestion is not impressed. 1.5g should be roughly the equivalent of 1L of cola, which I have not been drinking for some days now. What the hell, drinking the rest now... As much as the effect on the nervous system increased, as did it on my digestion. Have not eaten a lot the whole day and feel a little bit unwell now. I will rather make dinner now than sleep. Continuing experiment on the weekend.

Also I am surprised that I couldn't find anything on the net yet about the toxicity of phosphoric acid. All studies and reports are about soda, not drinking it in arbitrary amounts. Maybe no one has ever done that ... but then they put it in food and everything in smaller amounts, if basically no one ever tested what effects it really has by eating large quantities? I don't want to play the guinea pig.

UPDATE: Ok, I don't know *what the fuck* is happening inside of me, but I am just eating my dinner like usual and it feels like I am replenishing on nutrients twice as much than yesterday and maybe even the last 2 years. I have a very specific diet that always made me feel a whole lot better, but not so much since 2 years. Now again. I am very scared. This makes zero sense to me, maybe I am delusional.

UPDATE: Finished eating, the astonishing difference didn't continue until the end of the meal. It was not like it used to be 4 years ago. Maybe I just didn't drink enough acid before or the time frame was too short. I intuitively never drank much cola after a meal so I guess adding more acid now is not a good idea. Something is definitively going on here, I want to know what the hell it is.

0 · March 15, 2014 at 11:10 PM

Gah, teeth already hurt from the lemon juice. No matter how I put it inside my throat :/ . Just ordered phosphoric acid (food quality of course) on ebay ... will see how that goes. Maybe it can be put in capsules if diluted for a few seconds before those melt.

It all sounds pretty crazy and ridiculous. Phosphoric acid = the lost vitamin... Almost as funny as sulfur supplementation. Also ordering other biologically relevant acids, maybe they are even better. If online sources are correct, there is about 170mg phosphoric acid in 1L cola, meaning about 1g of acid per day is good. Maybe Vitamin B5 is good. Never took 1g of it (=RDA 16666%) but it wouldn't be unhealthy at all.

0 · March 15, 2014 at 08:01 PM

I googled this post because I observe a very strange phenomena:

For the most part of my life, I have been drinking no more or less than 4.5 liters of cheap diet cola per day in small sips (relative to body weight less during puberty). And I consistently continued to do it, because of the positive effects on the long run. Because it has eroded my teeth I have substituted it for longer periods of time (>6 month) in between, only to return to the old behavior, because mental health is simply worth more than shiny teeth.

Now diet cola basically is just flavored water + a weak acid + sweetener + extremely minor amounts of caffeine. Here is the fun part: I tried to substitute with water + caffeine tablets, various caffeine-containing teas + water, those teas + lemon juice + water all in dosage-corresponding amounts of course. My first bet naturally was the caffeine. But nothing doesn't quite cut it, and it turns out that the caffeine is pretty irrelevant as well as the sweetener for the most part. The most positive component it is the acid. And it can't be just any acid. Lemon juice works better than vinegar and supposedly the phosphoric acid from the cola works best. I have to drink more than 1L worth of lemon juice per day to simulate the same effect. And obviously that is more acidic so it gives me stomach issues and it is worse to the teeth if I were to dilute it. If I just drink water my body adapts of course over time, but that only happens in a very limited fashion. I would always immediately return to the same amounts of acid and caffeine if measured by positive impact.

It is not a vitamin or mineral deficit, especially not vitamin C (which I eat in large quantities anyway) and not calcium. I also never broke a bone in my life despite all the cola which supposedly weakens them (exaggerated nonsense imho). Acid fucks up your teeth, that's no secret. Lemons is the worst thing you can do to them. I have pumped so much money in supplements to test out and pay so much money and thought to healthy nutrition that I can confidently say it isn't any 'imbalance' or deficit you can fix from the outside any other way.

So what is the positive effect exactly? I feel stronger, like my body isn't deficient on something, more mental clarity, more energy, less tired (remember, it is not the caffeine - even when I drink a whole can of strong coffee that doesn't change what I describe here a single bit), less confused, faster reaction time, better anything. I even feel less cold and my hands get less red in the winter outside... The effect isn't immediate, it takes time to reverse and occur, like a healthy nutrition would. Maybe a little bit faster.

Why is this? Why do I need so much supplemented acid?

Asked a doctor they don't know shit about anything of course. I really don't want to mess up my teeth even more. Even if I use a straw to drink lemon juice and immediately flush it there is still too much in the mouth coming from the throat. And the optimum is a constant supply, hence I used to sip the cola every few minutes. Can't just drink large quantities 1-3 times a day, that would be nicest for the teeth but too hard on the stomach. My teeth are so used up, I can feel the sensitivity increase immediately. Also I got amalgam fillings only a few years back and now the mercury the acid releases keeps accumulating. If you erode teeth 10 times faster than normal, you also do that to the fillings, no secret here. Though, it is *still way better* than without the acid. Only makes me think that there is way too much drama around mercury toxicity. But I am scared of it nonetheless.

Also just to mention it: It has nothing to do with digestion either. I can eat large quantities of food and digest them as well. If I don't eat the entire day and don't ingest the acid, I still get the withdrawal effects of being tired etc. at the end of the day, when I wouldn't get them when just drinking diet coke instead of tea. It is the strangest thing. Of course not eating has effects on its own but that is something entirely different and clearly distinguishable.

Also I am pretty healthy and fit otherwise, no issues, never get seriously sick and never have been. There are weird genetic disorders out there which could perhaps explain it somewhat. But really if you got someone who easily burns (and digests) 4000kcal a day by exercise without really being in shape, someone with my immune system, that's just not what it is.

3886 · May 29, 2013 at 03:06 AM

Acidic foods, especially the ones you mention, like pickle juice and vinegar, aid in digestion. They are what's called "proteolytic," meaning, it aids in protein digestion. This is why we crave certain acidic condiments with burgers/meats.

Mustard is made with vinegar, but also, by itself, it, along with other spicy foods, stimulate stomach acid production.

Vinegar supports the acidic environment in the stomach necessary to digest protein.

Satisfy your desire!

0 · May 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM

It means your liver needs some cleaning and support and dark leafy greens are good to add to your diet dandelion greens and artichoke are especially good for your liver

0 · December 11, 2012 at 03:03 AM

Love Love Love pickle juice!!! mmmmmm!!

1744 · May 03, 2012 at 01:40 PM

Are you craving salty things?

and no, I wouldn't ignore it.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account