What Does It Mean When You’re Craving Chocolate?
Chocolate is one of the most craved foods in the United States — and with good reason, as this delicious treat is rich in sugars and fats that our bodies have historically sought out for pleasure. But is there any other reason behind your sudden chocolate cravings? Let’s find out.
1. You’re Looking For a Sugar Fix
Sugar is one of the things that makes chocolate seem addictive. After all, pure cacao has almost no sugar — but it’s so bitter that you would never crave it. When your body craves sugar, and you grant it that wish, you get a quick energy boost followed by a drop in blood sugar that increases cravings even more. Not skipping meals and eating foods high in healthy fat, fiber, and protein every few hours can help keep your blood sugar (and sugar cravings) in check.
2. Your Body Wants Magnesium
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in the mineral magnesium, so cravings may be your body’s way of asking for more of the nutrient. However, this theory is just speculation because there are plenty of other foods high in magnesium that we don’t often crave, like almonds and spinach.
3. You’re Simply Hungry
Similar to the first point, you may reach for sugary and fatty foods or snacks when you’re actually just in need of a filling and balanced meal.
4. You’re Starting Your Period
Research shows that about half of American women crave chocolate before or during their period. But this may just be habitual and “expected,” as no other countries experience the same phenomenon. Women may crave chocolate during their cycle simply out of habit because they believe it’s normal, or because feeling anxious, sad, or in pain can make you turn towards foods you get comfort from, which might be chocolate.
What Should You Do If You’re Craving Chocolate?
The simple answer is: eat a little bit! The healthiest type is dark chocolate, which will have a higher cacao percentage with more antioxidants and less sugar. However, a small square or two of decadent milk chocolate certainly won’t kill you. If you’re having trouble stopping, practicing mindful eating can help you. If you’re hungry or looking for more sugar, try eating a protein- and fiber-rich snack, like your favorite fruit with nut butter.