Do you crave chocolate? I know I do! But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why?
Of course we all know pregnancy is related to chocolate cravings, but what if you’re not pregnant?
Is it simply because it tastes good, or is there something else going on?
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind chocolate cravings and find out what’s really driving them. So if you’re curious to know more, keep reading!
We’ll be covering the main meanings and reasons behind your chocolate cravings!
1 – Distraction From Boredom Or Stress
Chocolate can help provide excitement if you’re bored, or it can be soothing if you’re stressed.
How does chocolate provide both relief from boredom and stress?
You can easily have food cravings for chocolate because of sugar.
See, chocolate is made up of cocoa powder, along with sugar.
And cocoa definitely needs sugar because have you ever tried unsweetened cocoa?
It’s horrible! Unsweetened chocolate tastes dreadful!
To make chocolate not taste like death and feel good on your tongue, companies like Hershey’s add lots of sugar.
This sugar then causes food cravings.
For example, the plain Herhey’s chocolate bar has 17 grams of sugar while flavors like “Milk Chocolate” have 24 grams per bar.
2 – Low Energy > Chocolate is a Caffeine / Mood Booster
If you think that chocolate makes you feel better, well, you’re right.
A clinical study in 2013 found that chocolate releases serotonin, a chemical that helps create the feeling of pleasure.
Ever wonder why on Valentine’s day you give your sweetie a chocolate? It’s a chemical way of making them love you!
Just kidding, you can’t make someone love you through chocolate, but hey a little serotonin could help boost your mood and alleviate depressive symptoms in a minor way.
(Of course, that little ‘mood boost’ could also be because of all the blood sugar too!)
In addition to sugar and serotonin, chocolate has trace amounts of caffeine.
For example, a bar of chocolate has about 10 mg of caffeine, and the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine.
To put things in perspective though, a cup of coffee has about 100-200 mg of caffeine. So this amount of caffeine in chocolate is pretty minuscule in comparison.
However, when you put the chemical cocktail of sugar, serotonin and caffeine together in your brain …
You can start to understand why chocolate is seemingly addictive!
Why Is Chocolate So Addictive?
Sugar, serotonin, caffeine – oh my!
And don’t forget about fat too!
The most addictive foods that make you crave have some fat in them too:
- Ice cream
- Fast food
Chocolate is a crazy, delicious combination of all your usual culprits behind an addictive food …
Plus, some genuine unique health benefits like releasing serotonin.
Add everything up and that’s why chocolate can seem so addictive and can seemingly cause cravings.
3 – Hunger
When you’re hungry, it’s normal to crave fat and sugar.
Chocolate has both.
Unfortunately, just eating chocolate will never be enough to truly nourish you!
In fact, one could eat 5 solid pounds of chocolate or 51 Hershey bars and still be genuinely hungry!
(Each Hershey’s bar weighs 1.5 ounces, and there’s 16 oz in a pound, so that’s 51 Hershey bars!)
How could one possibly be hungry after 51 Hershey bars?
Easy. Your belly would be stuffed. But your brain would know better.
In order to feel truly satisfied, your body and brain need a variety of vitamins, proteins, fibers, and minerals.
If you just eat chocolate, you’ll miss out on these other elements.
You’ll still have cravings for more food even though your belly is stuffed.
4 – Celebration
Our culture likes to celebrate with chocolate.
Birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings, and baby showers are all occasions where giving chocolate is considered appropriate. Chocolate is also given as a thank you gift, or to show appreciation.
Chocolate is often used as a romantic gesture. It can be given as a way to say “I’m sorry”, or “I love you”. Chocolate is also given to show sympathy, or as a congratulations gift.
Giving chocolate to someone can be seen as an act of kindness. It is a thoughtful gesture that can make the recipient feel special and appreciated.
Chocolate can also be used as a bribe! If you want someone to do something for you, offering them chocolate may just be the thing to tip the scales in your favor.
Last but not least, chocolate is simply a delicious treat that can be enjoyed by everyone! Whether you are enjoying a chocolate bar on your own, or sharing a box of chocolates with friends, there is no denying that chocolate is one of life’s simple pleasures.
As you can see our culture values chocolate in many more ways than just flavor!
This can partially explain why you’re craving chocolate.
Why do we crave chocolate?
There are a few reasons why chocolate cravings are so common. For one, chocolate has a long and rich history dating back thousands of years. It was first used by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, who believed that it had mystical powers.
In addition, chocolate is now a staple in Western culture. It’s often given as a gift, used as a dessert, or even eaten as a snack. And because it’s so prevalent, it’s not surprising that we start to crave it when we see it or smell it.
So if you’re wondering why you can’t resist that chocolate bar, you’re not alone! Craving chocolate is perfectly normal – and there’s no need to feel guilty about indulging in a little bit of sweetness. Just enjoy it!
5 – Vitamin Deficiency
This 2011 study shows that chocolate has lots of magnesium.
It’s possible that your cravings for chocolate mean you are lacking magnesium.
If you have low magnesium levels you can also try these foods which contain high levels of magnesium:
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Dairy products
If you no longer crave chocolate after eating these foods, then you had a magnesium deficiency all along!
6 – Childhood memories
It’s possible that you’re craving chocolate because of childhood memories.
While it’s unlikely childhood memories on their own are responsible for cocoa cravings, in combination with food, a deficiency and stress it makes sense.
For example, if you grew up eating a lot of chocolate as a child, you may associate the taste and smell of chocolate with happy memories.
Or, if you were given chocolate as a reward for good behavior, you may crave it now as a way to self-soothe.
7 – Food combinations
Certain foods, when eaten together, can trigger cravings. So, if you often eat chocolate with another food, like cake or ice cream, you may start to crave chocolate when you see or smell those other foods.
Here are some more examples of foods that when eaten may trigger chocolate cravings:
- Fast food
- Foods high in unhealthy fats
- Junk food
- Highly processed foods
- Foods high in sugar
- Foods that are highly palatable (tasty)
If you find yourself craving chocolate often, it may be a good idea to take a closer look at your diet and make some changes. Eating more whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, and cutting back on sugary and processed foods may help reduce your cravings.
In addition to paying attention to your diet, there are other things you can do to curb cravings, like getting enough sleep, managing stress, and exercising regularly. Taking these steps may help you stick to your healthy eating goals and avoid overeating chocolate.
So why am I constantly craving chocolate?
If you are constantly craving chocolate then it’s like both emotional eating and also physical, nutritional deprivation.
In other words, if you are constantly craving chocolate you’re probably experiencing multiple of the above factors simultaneously!
Emotional eating: You’re eating chocolate to distract yourself or to calm yourself down from stressful situations. Have you ever felt the craving for chocolate right before a big work project was due? This is an example of chocolate procrastination!
Nutritional deprivation: Chocolate has a lot of calories so if you’re trying to eat too healthy it’s possible that you are not eating enough. While your stomach may not be growling, you might not be satisfied either.
Some chocolate cravings are normal and to be expected, but if they are constant and persistent there are some underlying emotional and nutritional factors both impact you.
How to Curb Chocolate Cravings
Here are 4 general ideas on reducing chocolate cravings:
- Eat 3-5x per day
- Eat a balanced diet that includes protein, carbs and fat at each of your meals
- Try adding easy fats like olive oil and nuts
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit or honey
Don’t Cut Chocolate Out Of Your Diet
For starters, if you try to totally cut out chocolate from your life …
You’ll probably just eat more of it!
Chocolate is a part of western life.
If you try to avoid it you’ll just end up seeing it everywhere you go!
- We eat chocolate for birthday parties and social outings
- Chocolate is readily available pretty much anywhere
- Holidays like Valentine’s Day and Halloween are associated with chocolate
Plus, chocolate can also have health benefits too!
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by totally eliminating chocolate from your diet!
You’ll miss out on the benefits and your attempts to cut chocolate out of your life will backfire anyways.
Health Benefits Of Cocoa
Chocolate ain’t all bad!
There are health benefits to chocolate too.
Just because candy isn’t good for you, doesn’t mean chocolate is bad for you too.
Cacao is different from chocolate. All the sugar Hershey adds to cacao makes candy ‘unhealthy’ and contributes to food cravings.
If you still are going to eat chocolate as a regular part of your life and are worried about sugar, then at least just go for darker chocolate.
Think dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate the more cacao. The less sugar.
(if you feel guilty about eating chocolate, try switching to dark chocolate as a little experiment and see what happens)
Plus, there are possible natural health benefits to cacao such as:
- Improve mood
- Reduce stress
- Enhance immune system
Why do I crave chocolate?
The key is being honest with yourself: is your relationship with chocolate making you feel guilty afterwards?
If you are eating chocolate and feeling fine afterwards, it’s fine.
You might have a magnesium deficiency, or just be genuinely hungry. Maybe you need a bit more sleep or some coffee.
Here’s an experiment: for 1 day eat a hearty breakfast with tons of protein. Then have a great salad with healthy fats and stay hydrated throughout the entire day. Have some nuts for a snack. Finally wrap up your day with a satisfying dinner.
Still craving chocolate? Then it’s emotional.
You’re too stressed at work. Or, you don’t like work and your avoiding it. Chocolate cravings give you relief from work / anxiety.
Of course “work” might be a stressful family situation or any number of individual factors. Let me know in the comments below what comes up for you.
Craving Chocolate Meaning Conclusion
There are a number of reasons why you might be craving chocolate. It could be a combination of factors, such as being distracted, feeling low on energy, or being hungry. It could also be because you’re celebrating something, or because you’re deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. Chocolate cravings can also be triggered by childhood memories or certain food combinations.
If you’re wondering why you can’t seem to get chocolate off your mind, it’s important to pay attention to your body and see if there are any clues that could help explain your craving. Once you know the reason behind your craving, it will be easier to satisfy it in a way that is healthy for you.