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Is Popcorn Addiction a Red Flag for Mineral Deficiency?

Addiction to non-food items like popcorn or ice can signal a mineral deficiency.

Q. I saw an article about ice craving and related vitamin or mineral deficiencies. You said a popcorn addiction could also signal a deficiency in something, but you didn’t say what.

I eat popcorn ALL THE TIME. Could you please tell me what I might be lacking?

A. Ask your doctor to check your iron and zinc levels. If either of them is low, it could lead you to binge on popcorn even when you don’t really want it.

When people crave non-food substances such as clay, cornstarch or ice, doctors call the condition pica. But many readers have told us that similar uncontrollable cravings for popcorn, tomatoes or carrots cleared up when their anemia or zinc deficiencies were corrected. We have heard from a few people who craved radishes.

We trust that once you are tested and the deficiency identified, you will be able to find a way to correct it. After that, you may be surprised that you just won’t be interested in popcorn any more often than other people.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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