Why Your Chocolate Cravings Are Out of Control
This is a difficult time of the year for someone who craves chocolate! It’s everywhere! Do you find that you crave more chocolate in the winter or near Christmas? In today’s blog post I am going to go over the reasons why you are craving chocolate. Once we get your cravings under control, it will be much easier to actually enjoy the chocolate you eat, instead of feeling as though you need it and scarfing it down.
For starters, no you are not suffering from a chocolate deficiency, those don’t exist!
Top 5 Reasons Your Chocolate Cravings are Out of Control
- Magnesium Deficiency- Magnesium is involved in over 300 reactions in the body and is one of the most common deficiencies I see in my practice. Why are we magnesium deficient? Our soils have become depleted so our fruits and vegetables have less magnesium than they used to. Also, if your gut flora is disrupted (most people’s is) your ability to absorb magnesium is greatly reduced. Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, and it also helps the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter in the brain that is increased in addiction.
- Blood Sugar Fluctuations- When your blood sugar is unstable, going from high to low to high again, your body craves easily accessible energy. When blood sugar crashes we instinctively reach for food that will raise our blood sugar quickly, and chocolate fits the bill.
- Lack of Protein- Not eating enough protein can also make blood sugar unstable. Protein and fats helps to keep you feeling full longer and help to reduce cravings for simple sugars like chocolate.
- Stress- Chocolate stimulates the release of our feel good hormone dopamine. When we are under stress not much dopamine is being released. We evolutionarily want to be able to make ourselves feel better so this will often lead people to reach for chocolate for that dopamine spike.
- Eating Too Much Processed Food- In Chinese Medicine, cravings for chocolate are related to the spleen, the organ of digestion. Eating processed/unhealthy fat laden foods puts extra strain on the digestive system leading to chocolate cravings.
How to Calm Chocolate Cravings
- Supplement with Magnesium- Magnesium Glycinate is the best option for supplementation. It is easily absorbable, and does not cause loose stools to the same degree as Magnesium Citrate. Magnesium also helps to reduce muscle tension, anxiety, insomnia and PMS. Most people can benefit from supplementing between 200-600 mg/day.
- Go No Longer Than 5 Hours Between Meals- When we go long periods of time between meals and snacks, blood sugar drops and makes us crave foods that are quick fuel sources. Chocolate fits the bill.
- Eat Protein and Fat- Both protein and fat help to stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling full. Every meal and snack should contain protein and fat.
- Cinnamon- Cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar, preventing those blood sugar crashes that result in sugar cravings. You can add cinnamon to hot drinks, smoothies and oatmeal.
- Eat Dark Chocolate- It seems counter intuitive to reduce chocolate cravings by eating chocolate, but dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, is a good source of magnesium and can help to take the edge off of chocolate cravings. Have the dark chocolate with some protein and fat, such as nuts.
What foods do you crave? Post in the comments below
I hope you found some good tricks to help manage your chocolate cravings over the holiday season.
Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.