I got some questions recently wondering what to do if they are constantly craving chocolate and sweets.
I don’t have a direct answer which will work for everyone, because cravings can be due to may factors and knowing why you are craving a certain food is the first step in figuring out how to solve the craving.
Sometimes it is just as simple as eating the food you are craving, and then the craving is gone. However then hopefully that craving won’t return for a while, if you frequently have cravings for certain foods or uncontrollable cravings then that can be due to something other than just “the food tastes good and i haven’t eaten it in a while – type of craving”.
Different cravings can mean different things, such as if it is sugary, high fat, certain food groups or certain foods. So in this post i will stick with chocolate and sweet cravings.
When it comes to craving chocolate very often the best thing is to look at your lifestyle first.
How are sleeping? Are you drinking enough water? Do you have alot of stress? Are you anxious? How are are you eating?
Lack of sleep and being very stressed can cause chocolate cravings because you are tired and your body wants quick energy. The body is very smart and will crave for high energy food when you are not sleeping enough or are very stressed. So it can be recommended to try to fix those if they may be a problem.
Second is to look at how and what you eat. Are you eating irregular meals? Are you only eating vegetables and salad or very filling but low calorie food that leaves you feeling unsatisfied? Or maybe you are just eating very one sided and never really feel satisfied after eating? Or it could just be that you are eating alot of salty food and your body craves sweet to balance it out. Also if you are eating low carb that can be a reason for the cravings as your body wants sugar/glucose/carbs and chocolate is an easy source of that. However many times it can be that you are not eating enough and so the chocolate cravings are a sign that you need to eat more. But also eating irregular meals throughout the day where your blood sugar goes up and down and there is no balance. One of my best suggestions is to try to eat at minimum 3 meals a day and eat carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat with all your meals. Make sure you are feeling satisfied after you have eaten – also adding something sweet to your meals whether it is dried fruit, fresh fruit, berries or even sauce it can add some sweetness and balance out the saltiness of the meal.
Third, ask yourself if you have any other cravings that are very strong… or if you have any symptoms such as extreme tiredness for no explained reason as well as other symptoms, then it could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Generally, extreme chocolate cravings (among other symptoms) can be realted to magnesium deficiency. However, the best is to go to a doctor if you do think you have a deficiency…. but you could try eating some dark chocolate, dried fruit or even eating some cacao such as in oatmeal, yoghurt, smoothies or make hot chocolate out of it. Eating regular milk chocolate won’t help if it is magesium deficiency, dark chocolate has more magensium. Also a suggestion could be trying to eat more vegetables and microdense food… of course this sounds like the opposite of what you want, but vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals and it could be that you aren’t eating enought vegetables (however, if you already consume lots of vegetables, then this most likely isn’t the reason). So maybe add some kale, brocolli and dark leafy greens to your diet!
Fourth, check if it is an emotional craving…. this can be related to stress and tiredness as well. But sometimes food is connected with certain memories or experiences. Maybe when you eat chocolate you feel more calm or you feel safe and it is more the emotional memory and the feeling related to eating chocolate you want. It becomes like a safety net and the craving can become stronger and more frequent over time. But this also brings me to, chocolate can release dopamine which is a feel-good neurotransmitter i.e you feel good and happy after eating chocolate, which is also connected to the emotional craving. Maybe it is that happy feeling afterwards you want – then you need to find other things that can make you feel happy, such as the endorphines after a workout, being around positive friends and family, hugging people you love, being with animals you love, etc
And lastly, what about sugar addiction? Sugar addiction doesn’t exist, however food addiction does. Meaning that you wouldn’t go eat white sugar straight out of the bag – it is the actual food with sugar in it which you want. And that food is often high calorie and a mix of high fat and high sugar and those are often craved for the reasons above – tiredness, stress, anxiety, emotional connection, not eating enough etc
Also an addiction often requires proffessional help and addicts usually show withdrawl symptoms if they don’t get their “fix”. Most people who say they are addicted to sugar don’t get those symptoms….. they may get a headache, feel tired and crave the food but most often they can move onto another food or substitute with sugar free options or make changes in their lifestyle or eating habits and it can go away. It is just the first 1-2 weeks which may be tough.
So a very long anwer to a rather short question, but that is how it is when it comes to nutrition…. there is not always a straight forward answer and different symptoms can be due to may different factors and the best is to look at your own life and lifetstyle and figure out what it could be due to.
Also knowing whether the cravigs are strog ad persistent or just from time to time can help figuring out the cause. I.e if you can’t stop thinking about the food then it might be something a little more “serious” than just wanting the food because it tastes delicious.
For me personally, i don’t crave chocolate so often at all. The time i crave it most is if i haven’t slept so well or not eaten enough or if i am very stressed. But also eating something sweet everyday/most days can help balance out my meals as i have alot of savoury meals. Then i like to eat some dried fruit or fresh fruit or even just a bowl of yoghurt with home made granola can help!
In the past when i wasn’t eating as many carbs or when i was undereating then my cravings for chocolate were alot stronger and wasn’t just the “i want chocolate because it tastes good” type of craving.
I hope this helps!! 🙂
Leave your questions or comments below and i will try my best to answer 🙂