There are a lot of different reasons why a food craving could strike, like boredom or deprivation. Erin Morse, chief clinical dietitian at UCLA Health, told WebMD, “Hunger is the need for food for fuel, for nutrition, for all the good things that our bodies and our brains need. [Cravings are] our bodies are telling us that we want something to eat.” As it turns out, wanting a tall glass of OJ could be your body telling you it’s dealing with stress.
Orange juice might be rich in vitamins and minerals, but it’s also full of sugar, which plunges into the blood quickly. When you’re feeling stressed or dealing with chronic stress, that sugar rush makes your body happy, which is why high-sugar foods are sometimes called comfort foods. The need for comfort foods like OJ during times of stress can be attributed to high cortisol and insulin levels, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Furthermore, 2018 research in Obesity found that stress pushes you to have more cravings and reward-driven eating and drinking due to the increase in ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
Moreover, 2023 research in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences showed that drinking sugary drinks helped reduce stress in mice, but also made them binge eat food. In other words, stress likely plays a role when it comes to sudden urges for OJ during deadlines (but be careful not to drink too much, as it can lead to weight gain).