The Nutrition Treatment Center attributes peanut butter cravings to hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, or to an insufficient amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. WebMD suggests that food cravings develop to satisfy emotional needs. Research demonstrated that eating foods high in fat helps relieve stress in rats.
Emotional food cravings typically revolve around fat or sugar, reports WebMD. In 2011, CNN reported a study that revealed that people who ate saturated fats were less affected by negative emotions, indicating that emotional eating can arise independent of external stimuli.
According to WebMD, food cravings can also be triggered by not eating enough, resulting in the desire for a quick, high-calorie meal or snack. A limited diet can also result in food cravings as the body struggles to correct nutritional deficiencies. There may be a genetic component as well, since humans are evolved to consume and store fat to survive famine.
To combat food cravings, WebMD recommends creating a supportive food environment. Do not let peanut butter be easily accessible and opt for healthy, natural peanut butter with little to no added sugar or fat. If struggling to control cravings, start a journal documenting when and why the desire to eat began. Over time, patterns may become visible.