Chocolate cravings – we have all been there. Just when you have started eating healthy, then a chocolate craving sets in with a big bang. Food cravings can get out of hand, especially when the food in question is chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, there is nothing wrong with having a sweet tooth, however, moderation is essential.
Though chocolate can help improving one’s mood, this doesn’t mean that you should eat a bar or two of chocolate every time you crave for it. Indulging yourself in these cravings could be unhealthy for you. This is why you should train your body and mind on how to stop chocolate cravings. But before we get to that, let us look at the reasons why people crave chocolate.
Why People Crave Chocolate?
Serotonin is the chemical that allows us to feel content and happy. It is a well-being neurotransmitter found in the brain. Due to modern lifestyles, most people have a deficiency of serotonin. Symptoms of serotonin deficiency include pessimistic behaviour, negative self-image expressions, and even anxiety attacks. You may also find it hard to sleep or focus on specific tasks at hand. In most cases, the symptoms of serotonin deficiency appear in mid-afternoon or at night. It is during these periods where you may crave for chocolate.
Chocolate is considered an artificial serotonin booster. That’s why when you eat it, you feel calm and contented. It gives you a feel-good kind of feeling. It achieves this by sweeping out all amino acids except for tryptophan that is converted into the serotonin chemical.
You Have a Sweet Tooth
If you have a sweet tooth, then chocolate cravings are part and parcel of your life. This is a habit that one isn’t necessarily born with but adapts during the course of their lives. If you have a sweet tooth, you will always be craving to throw something sugary in your mouth. And, since chocolate is not only tasty but available in most homes, then it is the ideal food for a person with a sweet tooth.
Did you know that it is possible to have an addiction to sugary foods? If you have a chocolate eating habit, then it may be quite hard for you to go by day without eating some. Do your cravings heighten when you have not eaten anything for a while? The reason behind this is a decrease in blood sugar levels. The cravings are probably signals being sent by your body, indicating the drop. This is when you head to the store to grab your favourite chocolate bar.
Although after eating chocolate your blood sugar levels do stabilize, it does so at a high price. It spikes the insulin levels in your bloodstream, and this is something you should avoid at all costs. The effects of taking foods rich in high sugar are long term and could have an impact on your health.
When you are craving chocolate, the chances are you have a deficiency in Magnesium. This is quite common, especially amongst women who are on their periods. There is nothing wrong with eating a couple of pieces of chocolate when you have a magnesium deficiency. You should look for a healthier and more effective solution. Foods such as nuts, seeds, and avocados are rich in Magnesium and can help stop chocolate cravings.
Similar to serotonin, dopamine is also a neurotransmitter which helps fuel our drive or desire for something. Dopamine is released when you achieve something great or eat certain foods. Once it’s released, your body craves for more.
This also happens when you eat chocolate. It is one of the reasons why people feel that they are unable to control their chocolate cravings.
4 Ways To Stop These Chocolate Cravings
The best way to beat chocolate cravings is by identifying the cause. Do some of the reasons listed above relate to why you crave for chocolate? If the answer is yes, looking for an alternative to mitigate that cause will allow you to deal with your cravings. Here are tips on how to stop chocolate cravings.
- If you have a sweet tooth, there is a healthier way for you to satisfy it. Instead of munching on chocolate, you could substitute it with fruits such as berries and oranges. Or, you could make some herbal tea and add some honey.
- You may experience chocolate cravings when your energy is low, a result of low blood sugar levels. As mentioned earlier, sugar addiction is real, and one usually feels the urge to take sugary foods when their blood glucose levels are low. There are a couple of energy-rich foods that will keep you active for longer. For example, try preparing apple slices with some peanut butter.
- As stated earlier, a magnesium deficiency could be one of the causes of chocolate cravings. And since it mostly occurs when women are on their periods, it is safe to take little amounts of quality dark chocolate. It also advisable for you to incorporate dark leafy vegetables, almonds, and avocados into your diet. These are natural sources of Magnesium and will reduce chocolate cravings.
- Does chocolate make you happy? Well, it is best if you look for other sources of happiness and relief. This is because, ten years later, the same chocolate that once made you calm and content, could have dire consequences on your health. Not to mention, chocolate leads to the release of dopamine, which makes you crave it even more. You can stop this craving by distracting yourself. When a chocolate craving strikes don’t give in immediately tell yourself you’ll have some in 10 minutes and then go off and do something interesting. There are a lot of healthy ways on how you can achieve self-satisfaction and contentment. Engaging in hobbies, playing sports, and exercising are some of the things you can do to feel happy about yourself and your life in general.
A List of Foods to Eat When Craving Chocolate
Despite chocolate having many health benefits such as improving mood and reducing stress, high sugar and fat content makes it not ideal for many people. If you are trying to resist chocolate cravings, here is a list of foods that you can replace it with.
- Fresh fruits such as berries and apples make an excellent substitute for chocolate. You can even make smoothies for ease of consumption. Add some protein in the form of a few nuts or a small piece of cheese and you avoid the sugar highs and lows and stay satisfied longer.
- Greek or full fat yogurt is another ideal alternative to chocolate. It’s healthy, rich in proteins, calcium, vitamin B, and much more.
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts can provide your body with essential minerals that you may be lacking.
- Lots of water to keep you hydrated.
- If the urge to take chocolate is irresistible, then your final option should be dark chocolate. It is a whole different than regular milk chocolate since it’s made from 70% cocoa. Take it in only small amounts. I suggest keeping a small bar in the fridge break off one piece and put the rest back into the fridge and close the door. Sit down somewhere quiet, pop the piece of chocolate into your mouth, close your eyes and totally focus on the taste and texture whilst making the piece of chocolate last as long as possible.
The Bottom Line
Managing chocolate cravings does have its fair share of challenges. You might find yourself creeping back to your old habits every once in a while. But, the best thing to do is to do what’s right for you. Maybe, for you it has to be all or nothing and once you’re over the initial withdrawal symptoms it’s easier for you to avoid anything chocolatey. Or maybe you feel your life won’t be worth living without chocolate in it, if this is the case proceed with moderation. Enjoying some chocolate is okay, but remember, high amounts of sugar and fat can contribute to weight gain and health complications such as diabetes. Make use of the above tips to help control your chocolate cravings.
Love and Hugs