A craving for lettuce may be an indication of a dietary deficiency. HealthCentral.com indicates that an unusual craving for lettuce may be related to a severe iron deficiency.
In 2011, the Daily Mail reported a story about a woman named Elsie Campbell who craved lettuce and ate up to four whole lettuces in a day. Her husband Jim, a research scientist, applied his analytical skills to determine the cause for her craving. "I discovered lettuce, like a lot of green veg, contains sulforaphane – which can attack cancer cells," he told the Daily Mail. "I wondered if that was the reason why her body was craving it and suggested that Elsie visited the doctor." The doctor determined she had breast cancer, and she made a full recovery following treatment.
However, when ABC News contacted several experts about the story, they were skeptical about connecting a lettuce craving to a possible cancer diagnosis. Dr. Lisa Carey of the University of North Carolina Breast Center responded, "I have never heard of cravings as a signal for cancer and cannot think of a reason that they would be, outside of old-fashioned things like iron deficiency from chronic blood loss, most often seen with colorectal cancer."