Can’t Stop Craving Chocolate? This Is What It Says About Your Health
Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s wonderfully sweet, delicious and the perfect reward. It makes us feel good, happy and craving for more.
While most people are trying to make a conscious effort and stick to eating a reasonable amount of chocolate, for others, it’s impossible to stop at just a few squares and not eat it in one go. If you’re also among the people who can’t be trusted around chocolate, you might want to take a deeper look at your cravings. Your non-stop craving for chocolate might have various causes, from physical to emotional and mental ones. Today, we’re going to talk about the 5 main reasons why people can’t stop craving chocolate, what it says about your health and how to fix it.
Main reasons behind chocolate cravings
Your body needs minerals
If you have no problem eating dark chocolate any hour of the day, your body might be telling you that you’re in dire need of some minerals. Dark chocolate is known for being an excellent source of important minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese. Magnesium and iron deficiencies are among the most common nutritional deficiencies which can lead to anemia, particularly in women, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Therefore, if you can’t stop thinking about dark chocolate, it might be a sign that you need to improve your low levels of one or more of these minerals.
How to fix it: To know for sure if you have any nutritional deficiencies, do a blood test. Once you find out the mineral you might be lacking, increase your intake by consuming more vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs and high-quality meats. To avoid the added sugars but still have your sweet tooth satisfied, add cocoa powder or pure cocoa to smoothies or baked goodies.
You’re not consuming low GI foods
Your body knows best. If you need certain foods to boost your energy, your mood or your blood sugar levels, it will let you know. On the other hand, choosing the best foods to satisfy its requests and need is up to you!
If you are a fan of foods rich in sugar and carbs, you will experience a sudden energy boost after every meal. But the excess sugar will be stored away by your body and your blood sugar will drop again, causing another pang of hunger sooner than expected.
How to fix it: Say goodbye to processed carbohydrate foods and opt for low GI foods that don’t spike your blood sugar. Wholegrains and root veggies are high in fiber and slow down the absorption of sugar, especially when you throw protein and healthy fats into the mix. These foods not only keep you satiated and energized for a longer period of time but they are also safe for people with prediabetes because they do not affect blood glucose.
Speaking of diabetes, you might find some useful information here:
- 7 Worst Foods You Can Eat for Diabetes (+ Healthy Alternatives)
- 12 Diabetes Complications You May Have Without Knowing
- 7 Essential Breakfast Rules for People with Diabetes
You’re going for pleasure
When it comes to motivation, consciously or unconsciously, people will always focus on two things: seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
Chocolate is famous for activating the pleasure receptors in our brains, reducing the perception of pain, and triggering a positive feeling in the body. “When we consume chocolate we get sugar and caffeine, and the dopamine levels in our brains start firing and we feel good and get a boost in our glucose levels, which makes us feel like we have more energy,” says Taylor Newhouse, a registered dietitian at the Texas A&M School Of Public Health. But there’s only a small step from pleasure to aversion.
How to fix it: You don’t have to rely solely on chocolate to feel good. It might be the easiest option but you can also try other things that bring you pleasure and satisfaction like going for a walk in a park or having a long, relaxing bubble bath. Try to do things that you like on a daily basis, whether it’s sipping your morning coffee or reading a few more pages from your favorite book.
You’re avoiding the pain
Many people find comfort in chocolate and other types of foods that provide some sort of consolation, like ice-cream, to avoid negative feelings and distressful experiences. When do you usually go for chocolate? Is it after a long, stressful day at work? After a fight with someone close?
Chocolate might taste great but it’s not going to make all your problems disappear for good. Its effects might be fast, but they don’t last forever. You will have to deal with anxiety and loneliness and, maybe a pinch of guilt for overeating chocolate.
How to fix it: Instead of finding solace in chocolate squares, try to find the real cause of your negative emotions and find a way to cope with it. If you feel lonely, call someone, get involved in volunteer activities r play with your pet (animals are known to make you feel better in an instant). If you feel tense and anxious, don’t focus on what could go wrong in a situation. Keep your eyes and mind on the goal!
You’re concentrating on the DON’Ts
If you’re constantly telling yourself ‘Don’t eat chocolate, don’t eat chocolate, don’t eat chocolate’, guess what your subconscious will get out of all of this? ‘Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!’ By concentrating on what not to do, you’ll only make it worse for yourself. Instead of having an occasional treat, you’ll overeat on chocolate every chance you get after every self-induced period of deprivation.
How to fix it: Try to focus on the things you do want, on the DOs. There are plenty of tasty, nutritious foods like blueberries or oysters, that can bring you joy as well as positive feelings, without becoming obsessed with them.
To help you focus on the does and still satisfy your cravings, check out 5 Ways You Can Lose Weight AND Still Eat Desserts.
It has been scientifically proven that chocolate can give you positive feelings and vibes, reduce stress hormones and anxiety levels. On top of that, it’s a great source of antioxidants and minerals. Consumed in moderation, it can do wonders for you but if you’re constantly binge-eating on chocolate, it might be time to address the issue with more seriousness.