What Everyone Should Know About Chocolate Cravings

What Everyone Should Know About Chocolate Cravings

If you have chocolate cravings, it doesn’t mean your body has a chocolate deficiency, although I think most people would prefer that. Chocolate is high in magnesium and is a mood boosting food. Chocolate cravings often indicate that your body is addicted to the mood boost or it is deficient in magnesium, which is a common deficiency, mainly in women.

Here is what you should know about your chocolate cravings…

1.  Blood sugar levels

If you ever notice when you haven’t had a meal or anything to eat for quite some time, that your cravings are heightened.  For the sake of this post, we’ll use chocolate as the sought after craving food you voraciously hunt for when you haven’t had anything to eat in a while.  Why is this? Well a probable cause is that your blood glucose levels have fallen so low that your body sends signals out to raise them back up to par.  Well, by reaching for the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups or the Hershey Kisses, it does exactly that, it shoots up your blood glucose, but at an expensive price.  By eating high sugar foods when your blood glucose levels are low, the insulin spike that occurs sweeps all of the sugar and amino acids out of the blood stream except for one, tryptohphan (which gets converted to serotonin) which leads me to the next reason why you crave chocolate.

2. Serotonin Deficiency

Serotonin deficiency is rapidly creeping in the lives of many and throwing it’s weight around causing all kinds of negative behaviors.  Serotonin is our well-being neurotransmitter. It is the chemical that allows us to be content and happy. It seems to help keep our moods under control by helping with sleep, calming anxiety, and relieving depression.

When you’re low on serotonin you see the glass half empty versus half full, you tend to see yourself as unaccomplished or as a failure, you have negative self-image expressions, you may experience anxiety attacks, you practice aggressive behavior, or you may have insomnia.   Also, and more directed at the aim of this post is when your serotonin levels dip mid-afternoon and at night is when you tend to crave sweets and particularly chocolate.

Chocolate acts as an artificial serotonin booster because (as mentioned above) it sweeps out all the amino acids besides one, tryptophan which then converts to serotonin which then gives you a “feel good” emotion. Eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates such as doughnuts, cereal, chocolate and ice cream (which are all nighttime favorites by the way) cause a temporary increase in serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical that eases your tension, calms your mood and makes you happier. Since eating these foods has an anti-anxiety effect (albeit a short lasting one), these often become “comfort foods”.   A severe crash and drop of serotonin is right around the corner however, leaving you with a sleeplessness, stressed and depressed state often wanting more sweets to recover from the crash.

 3. Magnesium Deficiency

If chocolate is an unstoppable craving for you (which is most common in women during PMS and become mineral deficient) then magnesium deficiency is a likely cause for the craving.   This can be a relatively simple fix by incorporating an all natural magnesium supplement AND incorporating foods that are high in magnesium such as dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, avocados and raw cocoa nibs.

4. Dopamine

Dopamine  is our main focus neurotransmitter.  It is responsible for our drive or desire to acquire – be that food, sex, an achievement, or a drug. When you drink coffee, receive a text message, get a “like” on your Instagram post,  dopamine is being released. The release of dopamine leaves you wanting wanting more, resulting in cravings and in severe cases addiction. When you eat chocolate (or any type of refined sugar which can be found in more items than you think) dopamine release is achieved.  The fascinating aspect of this concept however is that the dopamine levels released when you chocolate (or any type of refined sugar) don’t experience the law of diminishing returns as you do when you eat all natural, whole foods.  This is a large reason why soo many people feel like they can’t control their chocolate craving.

This video below demonstrates this visually: http://youtu.be/lEXBxijQREo

Photo – shutterstock.com

Brian McFadden

Brian is a practical minimalist and plant based eater. He writes about health, happiness and simple living. If you’re into that kind of stuff, you should sign up for his no spam, gimmick free newsletter and follow him on twitter [email protected]_brianmcfadden.