Desire Ice? Dirt? Clay? You May Need Something
An appetite for nonfood items -- such as ice, dirt, clay paste, starch, hair and refrigerator frost -- is called pica. The connection between pica and iron deficiency is unclear, but consuming clay actually worsens the deficiency because clay inhibits iron absorption.
"Pica is most often reported among pregnant women," says registered dietitian Joyce Barnett, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Allied Health Sciences School. "But it can occur among nonpregnant women, men and children. Children usually outgrow it, but make sure they aren't eating toxic items, such as lead-containing paint chips."
If you find yourself craving lots of nonfood items, see your doctor. Usually adding iron to the diet is enough to curb your appetite.