Why Does Chocolate Make Me Thirsty? | CoachSweetTooth

You are enjoying a lovely bar of chocolate, but suddenly you feel parched. As you reach for the water bottle, you wonder why chocolate makes you thirsty.

Chocolate is probably one of the best treats you can give your mouth and taste buds. The feeling of sweetness melting on your tongue is an indescribable experience. We don’t know about you, but we are certainly not giving up chocolate due to the bit of thirst it causes.

Chocolate contains high amounts of sugar. When the concentration of sugar increases in our blood, the blood draws more water from the body to neutralize the effects of sugar. This can leave us hunting for water to replenish the shortage.

It is natural to feel thirsty after satisfying your sweet tooth. Whether you consume chocolate in the form of a bar, ice cream, hot chocolate, or a chocolate shake, you can feel thirsty and, sometimes, even hungry.

Experts believe that sugar and caffeine are the two main culprits that cause us to feel thirsty whenever we devour chocolate. Caffeine is a diuretic that causes our bodies to expel more water. On the other hand, sugar gets absorbed by the blood and mis balances its concentration levels. To retain the correct balance of concentration, blood draws more water from the body, causing us to feel parched.

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How Sugar Makes You Thirsty

Chocolate contains a lot of sugar. In fact, some chocolate bars are nearly 48% sugar. When you consume a chocolate bar, the sugar gets rapidly absorbed from your digestive system and ends up in the blood. As the blood circulates around your body, it draws water particles from the cells in an attempt to balance out the concentration of sugar.

As the cells become depleted of water, they begin to send messages to your brain that it is time to replenish the fluids in the body. The brain is programmed to know that drinking water is the best method to replenish the fluids. When it senses a spike in the sugar levels, and messages from cells stating they need fluids, it triggers thirst.

To understand how blood can “steal” water from the cells, we need to step into the science of osmosis.

What is Osmosis?

Science has it that particles move from where they are in higher concentration to where they are low. Osmosis deals with the movement of water across a semipermeable membrane from diluted areas to concentrated areas. It is essential to note that osmosis involves the movement of water particles and not what is dissolved in the water through a partially permeable membrane.

To understand this better, say you have a glass of water and add any kind of semi-permeable membrane in the middle. Then you add some salt to one side and dissolve it. If you let the glass sit for some time, you will notice that water moves from the less salty side to the more salty side, causing the water level to rise on that side.

This is exactly what happens with sugar spiked blood. As it flows through the vessels, the vessel walls act as semi-permeable membranes and cause water to flow from the cells to the blood.

How Caffeine Makes You Thirsty?

There are small amounts of caffeine present in chocolate. The amount of caffeine is higher in dark chocolate, which contains more cocoa.

It is also possible that the presence of caffeine, a diuretic, is a contributing element to the sensation of being thirsty after eating chocolate. When we consume a chocolate bar, the caffeine makes its way into our bloodstream. As the brain flows through the body, the brain senses the increase in caffeine content.

Since caffeine is often dissolved in water, the brain tries to eliminate the caffeine through the kidneys. As more water makes its way through the kidneys to the bladder, the body feels depleted of water. This causes the brain to transmit signals indicating that your body needs water, making you feel thirsty.  

The caffeine concentration varies depending on the kind of chocolate you are consuming. Caffeine is naturally contained in cocoa, which is the primary component used in the production of chocolate products. Any chocolate with higher cocoa content, such as dark chocolate, will contain more caffeine, which has a higher chance of making you feel thirsty.

Dry Mouth

Some researchers believe that in addition to being diuretic, chocolates also contain a chemical called tannins. This chemical is also found in some fruits, coffee, tea, and different types of chocolates.

When the chemical tannins enter the mouth, it binds to the salivary glands, giving us a sensation that we have a dry mouth. Naturally, a dry mouth or reduction in saliva production causes our brain to think that our body does not have enough water. The brain then triggers the sense of thirst, making us hunt for some water to gulp down.

If you have ever eaten fruit that is not ripe, you will remember the sensation. Although the sensation can be quite obvious with the fruit, it is not so with chocolate. But the effect is still there.

How To Handle Thirst From Chocolate

There is not much to do when you feel thirsty except drink a full glass of water. Also, if you are experiencing frequent or high levels of thirst, you will want to check on the amount of chocolate you are consuming.

Oftentimes, chocolate lovers consume it in different forms without even realizing it. For instance, chocolate ice cream with chocolate fudge sitting on top of a chocolate brownie with chocolate chips would mean you are consuming quite a lot of chocolate, even though it is just one sundae you are enjoying.

Depending on what you are eating with chocolate, the thirst can trigger after around 15-20 minutes of consuming it. If you are an avid chocolate lover, it will help if you always keep a water bottle handy to allow yourself to replenish the fluids in your body whenever you need them.



Lori Gilmore

Lori Gilmore

Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.

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