Have you got chocolate on your mind too often? You won’t want to submit to those cravings every time, which makes you wonder why you crave chocolate so much?
Food cravings are not uncommon. People have cravings for the weirdest foods at the oddest times. You might be a perfect example of a healthy diet. Protein, fiber, and healthy carbs might be your best friend, but suddenly you crave chocolate before bedtime. What can you do but satisfy yourself?
You might be craving chocolate because your blood sugar has dropped, you have a magnesium deficiency, you are stressed, need a caffeine boost, go through hormonal changes, or just out of habit. There can be one or multiple reasons to blame.
Chocolate is undoubtedly one of the most bought and loved foods globally. Have you been to a departmental store lately? The candy aisle is loaded with numerous brands and types of chocolates. As a chocolate lover, you can’t help but feel the guilty pleasure in trying most of those chocolates so that you don’t miss anything you should not. But you can’t always get the craving to overwhelm you.
We talked to several nutritionists and medical experts to find the exact reasons for the uncontrollable chocolate cravings. This guide talks about why you crave chocolate and what you can do about it.
Reasons for Craving Chocolate
Below, we discuss the top six reasons for craving chocolate.
Your Blood Sugar Levels Have Dropped
There is a huge chance you are more addicted to the sugar in the chocolate than the chocolate itself. Chocolate is made from cocoa which is highly bitter on its own. Varying amounts of butter, milk, and sugar are added to make it a treat. Dark chocolate is available in different cocoa contents that you can find written on the packaging in percentages. It has less milk and sugar. The cocoa percentage drops as you go towards the lighter chocolate, and butter, milk, and sugar rise with other sweeteners.
When you take long breaks between two meals, your blood sugar levels drop, and you turn to a snack in your fridge that does not kill your appetite. Unfortunately, you might pick up a chocolate bar with high sugar content since not everyone is a fan of dark chocolate. Sugar is a type of carb that gives you an instant high. But it also absorbs quickly, diminishing its effects rapidly and lowering the blood sugar again.
Now that your body knows how good it feels as you take a bite of chocolate, your mind tells you to have nothing but chocolate. Before you know it, you are on a sugary roller coaster of high and low. While some people think that sugar is addictive, research suggests that the combination of sugar and fat is addictive.
What Can You Do?
Reduce the gap between your meals, so your blood sugar does not drop too much. Moreover, fill your diet with fiber which balances the sugar levels. Cutting back on sugar is ever easy. However, you can try doing it gradually and develop a taste for darker chocolate with less sugar.
You Have Magnesium Deficiency
Most people have a magnesium deficiency, and the one thing that everyone loves and is high in magnesium is- you guessed it - chocolate. Depending on the cocoa content, one average-sized portion of dark chocolate can have magnesium up to 50 mg. Your brain registers that your body’s need for magnesium is satisfied when you eat chocolate. Therefore, it tells you to have it when the levels dip again.
What Can You Do?
You should not worry too much if you have dark chocolate daily in a moderate amount. Eating dark chocolate daily is even recommended by doctors due to its several health benefits, including magnesium supply. However, if you are worried about consuming too much chocolate or developing an addiction, consult a doctor to resolve your magnesium deficiency.
You are Stressed
Being stressed, depressed, or anxious is no reason to be ashamed. There are thousands of reasons for being stressed on any given day. You might have dropped coffee on your clothes before a meeting, struggle with work or finances, or the exams might just be around the corner. We turn to food that makes us feel good and comfortable when stressed. That’s why it is called stress eating or comfort food.
Chocolate is a carbohydrate that releases dopamine in an area of our brain that activates the pleasure and reward feeling. Once you feel that, you will want to have chocolate as long as you don’t find a solution for your stress.
What Can You Do?
Comforting ourselves with food when we feel stressed, angry, sad, etc., suppresses our feelings. However, you should be addressing those feelings by talking to someone. If necessary, you should consider professional help.
You are Going through Hormonal Changes
50% of the women in the US crave chocolates when they are on their periods. During periods, women experience hormonal changes that can cause chocolate cravings. Progesterone, serotonin, and estrogen are the feel-good hormones that drop, and cortisol, the stress hormone, rises during periods. As discussed in the previous point, stress is a massive factor in craving chocolate. Therefore, you reach out to the widely available mood buster, and the cycle repeats each time. The same goes for other hormonal changes inducing stress.
What Can You Do?
The next time you are craving chocolate during periods or experiencing hormonal changes, ask yourself whether you really want chocolate or it is only the hormones? This won’t satisfy your cravings, but you can use the awareness for healthier alternatives that you might like, such as fruits, frozen yogurt, and trail mix.
It is a Habit
You might have a habit of rewarding yourself after a day's work. This can be good and motivating, keeps your routine healthy, and pushes you forward. It’s usually the sweets we reward ourselves with after washing that last plate of the day when we have nothing else to do but relax. This rewarding routine might become a habit, and you will start craving it at unusual times.
What Can You Do?
A reward does not have just to be chocolate, right? It can be frozen yogurt, a peachy pie, low-fat ice cream, or fresh juice. You won’t be able to jump directly from chocolate to other options as you are habitual of it. However, you can do it systematically and gradually.
About THE AUTHOR
Karen Sladyk has been studying and teaching cake decorating topics and culinary crafting projects for over 30 years. She has multiple awards-including first place finishes-in a variety of shows and conferences. She has made and or sold hundreds of dessert-themed gifts, masterpieces, and crafts. She enjoys the challenge of problem-solving chocolate issues in show pieces and making chocolate accessible to all people.Read more about Karen Sladyk