Chocolate is a guilty pleasure that most of us have. And many of us hit the google search bar feeling helpless, with questions like “why do I crave chocolate?” Or “why am I addicted to chocolate?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even if you don’t have a natural sweet tooth, chocolate has that sweet way of beckoning you in with cravings before leaving you in a deep sugar crash.
From nutritional deficiencies to cultural myths, here’s all the reasons that your body is craving that Snickers bar so badly.
1. A PMS myth
Because society tells us we need it when we’re PMSing. Did you know that the only scientific proof behind that is the fact that chocolate has been marketed to us over the years? Hence, we think we “need” it during that time of the month, all thanks to misinformation and cultural conditioning that’s been passed down.
2. Goodbye, stress
It’s a potent stress reliever. Anyone who has been living in 2020 knows what a potent relief this can be. But even though it just seems like a quick fix to your bad mood, it’ll make your blood sugar levels spike, and you’ll just crave it more.
3. Added sugars
Unless you’re buying a dark chocolate bar from your local organic store, you’re probably loading up on milk chocolate, which is filled with a low amount of cacao and a high amount of sugar and carbs. Add flavorings like caramel or marshmallow and you have yourself a mountain of sugar that created further cravings.
4. Magnesium deficiency
Only 20% of people get the magnesium they really need, and the need for that important vitamin is almost always deficient in women. Consume lots of whole grains and dark, leafy greens if you’re worried about your magnesium levels, and talk to your doctor about it.
5. Milk chocolate vs dark chocolate
We’ve all heard “but chocolate is good for you!” Unfortunately, that only applies to dark chocolate with a high cacao content. Milk chocolate is quite unhealthy and fattening. As a matter of fact, dark chocolate should only be consumed a few squares at a time if you want antioxidants and other health benefits it can provide.
6. Hunger pangs
When you’re hungry, you tend to go for the unhealthy quick fixes. Your body wants some fast carbs, and refined sugars can give you that. Unfortunately, it will just give you a sugar rush and leave you hungrier than ever. We suggest drinking a full glass of water and having a healthy snack before reaching for dessert.
7. A need for caffeine
Some of us use chocolate to wake ourselves up a bit. Chocolate contains caffein (dark chocolate has more) and this can stimulate your central nervous system, adding to chocolate’s addictiveness. Eat trail mix for an energy boost, not a Hershey’s bar!
8. It releases dopamine and serotonin
Anytime your body experiences something pleasurable, it releases mood altering substances called dopamine and serotonin. Your dopamine and serotonin levels are decided partially by genetics, but food preferences and chocolate consumption can play a large role in it. The chemical tryptophan (the amino acid in turkey that makes you overload on Thanksgiving) is also present in chocolate and paves the way for serotonin.
9. A natural aphrodisiac
Chocolate covered strawberries are famous for their seduction, and there’s a reason behind that. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a chemical known to excite heart rate and encourage arousal. A food that makes us want to get freaky is obviously going to be addictive…
This is a major reason why women with child can sometimes eat a wild amount of junk food and still not feel satisfied. Eating chocolate while pregnant can actually be beneficial for you – just make sure you have lots of flavonoids in whatever you’re consuming, rather than a cheap candy bar.
11. It’s like a drug, and your brain thinks so too
A natural brain chemical called Enkephalin is a big reason for why chocolate feels so addictive to humans, In a study with rats, the rodents consumed M&Ms and experienced a vast increase in the chemical, which triggers opioid receptors in the same exact way that serious narcotics like morphine do.
12. It’s habitual
Many of us have a dessert ritual. We like to treat ourselves at the end of a long day, and why not? The essence of expecting chocolate at the same time every day will just make us crave it further. If you always have a scoop of chocolate ice cream after dinner, consider switching to a new habit, like green tea or fruit.
13. Low blood sugar levels
If you frequently wait long times between meals, or skip them all together, those crazy cravings might star popping up. Sugar gives you fast energy, but it’s fleeting. Instead, eat foods with high fiber that keep blood sugar in check, such as oatmeal.
14. Mental health struggles
It’s not an anti-depressant, but many people treat it as such. Studies show that those who suffer from depression eat double the chocolate of people that don’t. Make sure you don’t use chocolate as a replacement for real medicine, since it’s only a temporary feel-good bandaid.