Q. I have been eating Argo cornstarch since I was 19. It started when I was in my first pregnancy and I’ve been eating it ever since. I used to eat a box a day and I think it is making me gain weight. I’m trying to cut back but it’s hard. I also have a very low blood count. I have tried everything possible to stop but nothing is helping. I’m 33.

A. Your low blood count may provide the explanation. Ask your doctor about correcting the anemia. Low iron or zinc levels can sometimes trigger pica, a craving for non-food substances. Cornstarch and laundry starch are common objects of cravings, but we have also heard from readers who crave ice chips or even foods such as popcorn, carrots or radishes. Usually these cravings disappear once the deficiency is eliminated.

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  1. Nyokka A

    I am a very bad ice carving and I don know how to stop it. All my friends n family are advising me n I am lying to them until now. I am always feeling weak n need to eat ice. I never go to a doctor or ask. Do you guys think I may have a medical problems?

    • The People's Pharmacy

      An ice craving of that sort may indicate deficiency of either iron or zinc. You should ask the doctor to test you, because if you correct the deficiency the craving will go away.

  2. Lisa

    I have been eating ice for the past 5 years. It has this taste that my taste buds has been searching for. And I eat stone and dirt. Some times I get so weak. I have been taking the iron pills it’s not working. Only when I drink boiled green banana I feel better. I want to stop my cravings.

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Ask your doctor to check on your zinc levels. Low zinc can also trigger this problem, just like low iron.

  3. Olivia
    Orlando Florida

    I eat flour thats if I don’t have the cornstarch near me I’ve been on flour since I was 14 and cornstarch for 2 years. I eat 2 backs back to back to I can have enough in my system. And the second I run out I go and eat a few spoonfuls of flour a day until I get some more cornstarch in my system. How my addiction start was from watching videos on YouTube. When I tried it the first time it was gross and I should of left it like that but I did. So now I’m trying to find a way to kill 2 birds with one stone

  4. Anonymous

    I have been eating several cups of crushed ice everyday since I was 13. I’m 31 now. I know I have anemia, but when I took iron supplements they made my poo black. So, I stopped taking them. I also have tried to cut back, and add cups of water instead. I will call the doctor, but I really don’t know of there’s a fix for me. I upped my green vegetables for a while, but I always go back to eating ice.

  5. Audit Queen

    I have been starch free since 2009. I stopped cold turkey. It will be officially six years in September. If I can stop you all can overcome this addiction as well. I must admit it wasn’t easy. I love the weight loss and my new figure. I’m not one to brag, but I must admit I’m a brick house. Eating starch destroyed my teeth and I’m looking at thousands of dollars in repair. I also have to see a gastroenterologist because of chronic constipation issues. Ladies leave the stuff alone. I must admit the cravings will return. Out of the blue they start hitting me recently. I’ll watch people eating the stuff on YouTube. But I have not given in to the temptations. I love my health way more than that stuff.

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