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GET REAL GUIDE to Chocolate Cravings

January 18, 2016
get real guide chocolate cravings image

Look, we all try our best to be healthy. But let’s get real, the day you need my help is not when you’re at your best; It’s when you’ve eaten the entire box of chocolates.

Let’s get real, you’re a chocoholic.

Wherever you are on the scale of “occasional chocolate cravings” to “channeling your inner Miranda on SATC, I’m here to help.

As we get started, give yourself a break. Turns out, your lack of willpower might not be to blame.

What’s Going On In Your Body:

Sometimes a craving is an indication that you’re missing key minerals or vitamins (micronutrients).

Did you know that a 100 gram (3.5 oz.) bar of 70-85% cocoa has 58% of the RDA for magnesium?!

dark chocolate image

A chocolate craving could very well be your body’s plea for more magnesium.

But don’t get too excited, eating more chocolate is not the solution. (<–sorry!)  It turns out we can’t talk about magnesium deficiency without addressing the underlying culprit, SUGAR.

So let’s assume you are deficient in magnesium, which is triggering a strong chocolate (lots of sugar!) craving. By ingesting sugar when you eat chocolate, you’re actually making your magnesium deficiency worse, as sugar depletes magnesium.

Even worse, sugar produces “the same chemicals found in heroin and cocaine — which makes you want those foods even more.”

So, this cycle­–eating chocolate when you’re magnesium deficient­– is self-destructive:

cycle of maagnesium deficiency and chocolate image

It’s no wonder you can’t control your chocolate cravings!

Other signs of magnesium deficiency include trouble sleeping, trouble staying asleep, anxiety, muscle spasms and cramping, to name a few.

So if this sounds like you, what’s your game plan?

There are tests for micronutrient deficiencies, but chances are your primary care doctor won’t order one of these and they are pretty expensive out of pocket. Instead, try introducing more magnesium rich foods and see how you feel. The optimal amount of magnesium is 400 mg per day.

Here are some great (non-chocolate!) sources of magnesium: source.

  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds = 48% of daily recommendation of magnesium
  • 1 cup cooked spinach = 39% daily recommendation of magnesium
  • 1 cup cooked chard = 38% daily recommendation of magnesium
  • 1 cup cooked soybeans = 37% daily recommendation of magnesium
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds = 32% daily recommendation of magnesium
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa = 30% daily recommendation of magnesium

Unfortunately, just eating more magnesium isn’t necessarily enough. You need to make sure you’re properly absorbing it. Do you fall into one of the categories below? source. If so, it might be time to make some changes.

  • You eat a lot of high sugar, processed foods. These cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium :(
  • You drink soda, which contain phosphates. These phosphates hinder absorption of magnesium.
  • You’re chronically stressed or are recovering from an illness. Your body needs more magnesium in these circumstances.
  • You drink caffeine on a regular basis, which cause your kidneys to excrete too much magnesium.
  • You take certain medications like birth control pills or diuretics. Again, those kidneys are releasing too much magnesium!
  • You take a calcium supplement that doesn’t have a 1:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.

mnms image

Eating less processed foods and cutting back on sodas are easy changes to make.

But, if there are things you’re not willing to change (say, your trusty birth control pill), you might want to consult your doctor or nutritionist for a recommendation for a magnesium supplement.

Join the conversation!

Are you a chocoholic? Do you get enough magnesium? Did my photos of chocolate make you crave it, too 😆 ?

Anna Walker signature image

 

 

 

The above post is part of my new Monday series–GET REAL GUIDES–which delivers real advice for when your life feels like a hot mess. Unexplained bloating, adult acne, cravings and hangovers, I’m looking at you!

In less than 4 minutes, you can learn valuable tools to successfully tackle relevant (and inevitable) life challenges related to health and nutrition. Because let’s be real, life isn’t all rainbows and kale salads.

Interested in more? Click “GET REAL GUIDES” on the navigation bar to at the top of the page!

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12 Comments

  • Reply Sarah @ BucketListTummy January 18, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Ah gosh, don’t we all feel magnesium deficient because chocolate cravings are so real?! I loved learning about sugar and hyperpalatable foods in my nutrition courses – so fascinating how our brains are wired and how addictive it is. I probably get most of my magnesium from spinach and nut butters, but I need to work on snacking on pumpkin seeds and adding in other sources. I’m a major caffeine lover :(

    • Reply Anna January 18, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Oh Sarah, I am too! I just love coffee a little too much… Thanks for reading :)

  • Reply Taylr January 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    This was SO informative! My cravings definitely get the better of me sometimes, but now I definitely have found some tips to kick that habit. Thanks for sharing x

    • Reply Anna January 18, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks for reading, Taylr! ?

  • Reply rachel @ athletic avocado January 18, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    This is so interesting! I had no idea that chocolate cravings can be linked to a magnesium deficiency! Next time I crave chocolate I’ll be sure to replenish my body with magnesium instead.
    rachel @ athletic avocado recently posted…Jelly Donut Mug Cake {Paleo, GF + Vegan option}My Profile

    • Reply Anna January 19, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Thanks, Rachel! Pumpkin seeds are a great mg rich snack :)

  • Reply Sheena @ Paws and Pavement January 19, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I definitely am a chocoholic but I crave chocolate a lot more a few days before that time of the month. Possibly linked with low magnesium? My mom got me hooked on Calm which has calcium and magnesium as a supplement to take before bed. I used to get restless legs so bad and that really helps.

    • Reply Anna January 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      I also love natural calm! It’s the best for good sleep. Since you’re already taking a mg supplement, it’s probably something else. Cravings can be due to so many things but I have heard many people crave chocolate before their period so you’re not alone :) Thanks for reading, Sheena.

  • Reply Joanne January 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    My name is Joanne and I’m a chocoholic ! Actually I didn’t need a 12 step program to quit it….as I got older I found that a chocolate and red wine combination gives me a headache. Got to get a new plan for valentines day !

    • Reply Anna January 20, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      LOL! Red wine,with or without chocolate, gives me a headache,too.

  • Reply Emily January 25, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Wow, this is really interesting… I don’t often have really strong chocolate cravings, but now I know that it may be a need for magnesium! :)

    • Reply Anna January 25, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Thanks for reading, Emily!

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