4

votes

Why am I craving so much chocolate?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 19, 2011 at 9:07 PM

I've been Paleo now for about 4 months and have lost around 30 lbs. For the most part I am very careful with my food choices.

Long story short, I bought some 99% chocolate as a treat to have a few times a week. At first it was way too bitter to enjoy more often then that. Well, I've grown quite a taste for it! I love the stuff. I'm eating around 2-3 squares a night!

In fact, it has become one of the only foods that I crave significantly. I used to have major craving problems when I was eating SAD.

I eat a pretty simple diet of ground beef, steak, eggs, tomato, avocado, some nuts, pork, cheese, homemade yogurt.

Could I be missing something that my body is trying to get from the chocolate?

Is it anything to worry about? Maybe I should just enjoy the one vice and stop worrying about it?

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on January 28, 2013
at 07:53 PM

Supplementing with magnesium has done nothing for my raging chocolate cravings. I do the magnesium fizz before bed, but the chocolate is before that.... waittasec.....

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on February 22, 2012
at 07:58 PM

I am not so sure on that. I used to buy 85% chocolate, but my body did not like it as much. Now I have 100% chocolate, no sugar/anything added. My body LOVES it much better. Go figure.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 03, 2011
at 12:25 AM

I'd highly recommend the Green & Black 85% dark chocolate. Not even Godiva can match its smooth, rich taste!

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:28 PM

I tend to agree that it is a fairly mundane craving issue. I feel like a recovering alcoholic worrying about eating food made with cooking wine. My problem is that Paleo has helped me recover from some major food problems, and I feel like I have to keep vigilant to keep from reverting back to my old ways, just with new problems.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:36 PM

I had the same thing. Got rid of chocolate for a few weeks so I couldn't indulge. Once the cravings went away, I let myself have some chocolate and everything seems to be fine.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 01:09 PM

I think you are 100% correct. I've been working on a couple of giant sweet potatos this week and my chocolate craving has subsided somewhat. There isn't very much sugar in the 99% bars I have, but maybe just enough. So if it is sugar I am craving.. that might be a very unhealthy craving leftover from years of bad food choices. I doubt very much that I am at a place where I can trust my body to crave something properly. I'm thinking I should cut the sugar even more.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Chapa.. yep! The only reason it bothers me is because I don't want to feel dependant on anything. I love my other food sources, but I don't feel like I "HAVE" to have a hunk of steak over another protein source. Or a tomato instead of a cucumber. My relationship with chocolate is a different animal.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:56 PM

Seems like a lot of us are big fans of the chocolate. I suppose that is because it is a great treat without being too horrible for us. I just get a bit worried when I feel like driving a few miles for a Lindt bar. I guess if you have to be hooked on something, it could be worse.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:51 PM

Someone mentioned that book to me recently. I'll check it out.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:51 PM

I'm not sure I get enough fiber. I did forget to mention that I eat sweet potatos. I go through about 2 giant SPs a week. I'm going to add green leafy and keep my chocolate around 2 squares a day. Seems like a good way to go.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:44 PM

Very good point about the dark green stuff. In fact I always recommend that when I am suggesting what other people should eat, but I don't really get to excited by them myself. I'll add those and see if that makes any difference.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:04 PM

@David: I used to eat a couple of squares of 85% after dinner, and noticed no effect on my sleep pattern. Then again, I have a double espresso every morning, but that's as much caffeine as I get for the day :)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:00 PM

Yes, but chocolate has little to no fiber. As long as OP is getting enough fiber in his diet, that's cool, but if he's not, eating dark chocolate won't help matters much. I'd take a handful of almonds or cashews for the fiber content (and other minerals) any day. PUFAs aren't evil, only when they comprise the majority of your saturated fat intake.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:50 AM

What about the stimulants(about the same caffeine as half a cup of coffee+the thebromine)/tannins?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:47 AM

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1266816/pdf/biochemj01066-0063.pdf) @BeyondthePa1e possibly so, but I don't personally find that my chocolate cravings depend on magnesium status, or have any craving for any other magnesium rich food. (Actually, I don't remember any-one ever talking about craving any other magnesium source). Also the positive physiological effects of magnesium aren't instaneous, whereas, in my experience, the positive effects of chocolate are.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:44 AM

@WaveHunter. You say I should "Google Scholar it" like the answer is self-evident upon minimal investigation. In fact, if you DO google scholar it (I prefer pubmed personally), the first link says "The chocolate drink contained relatively high amounts of polyphenolic compounds, phytic acid, and calcium, all well-known inhibitors of iron absorption." And this is a *chocolate drink* not 85% dark chocolate! (http://www.ajcn.org/content/67/5/873.short) The 3rd link down shows milk chocolate as having 215mg/100g, which compares to wholemeal bread at 237mg/100g...

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:32 AM

@Ambimorph. Thanks. I don't think the lack of taste would prevent cravings though, if the cravings are truly in response to the magnesium and not the taste. If you pair theobromine with one of two indistinguishable drinks, then affective liking for the theobromine paired drink will increase (the theobromine is in a capsule, just like magnesium). http://www.springerlink.com/content/k5412kjq5v63g766/

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:26 AM

It might be hard to crave a supplement if you can't differentiate it by taste. I like the other arguments, though.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:42 AM

I had a temporary love affair with dark chocolate, too. It kind of bothered me, because I didn't want to feel addicted to any kind of food again- but being slightly obsessed with chocolate has pretty much faded away now. I also wondered about mineral deficiency. Some things are a mystery, I guess.

351cbf133b44fb7a1b90781e148d28d7

(597)

on July 20, 2011
at 01:43 AM

2-3 squares a night sounds pretty reasonable; it's not like you're scarfing an entire bar on a daily basis. So, yes, stop worrying and enjoy ;)

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:46 PM

...maybe magnesium, very common

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

(812)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:02 PM

The fermentation process breaks down the phytates. Google Scholar it.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 19, 2011
at 10:59 PM

100g of unsweetened chocolate has 327mg of Magnesium without lots of PUFAs unlike almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds which have lots of PUFAs.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on July 19, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Mineral deficiency is what I am thinking

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:54 PM

I'll add that magnesium has been used to treat depression and anxiety, so if it is being absorbed, I can see why, that, plus a host of other feel-good chemicals make for an intoxicating cocktail; speaking as a chocolate addict myself.

  • A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

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11 Answers

best answer

13
B76f22ed4373946b3c8990b667562683

on July 19, 2011
at 09:57 PM

After fourth months I doubt that you are having serious cravings for the poisons in something you enjoy in moderation, considering how faithful you've been to the lifestyle (although it is entirely possible!).

The craving could be for magnesium, arguably THE most important mineral necessary in our diets for proper metabolic function in the body. If you don't have at least a moderate intake of dark green leafy vegetables, this is almost certainly the culprit. The overwhelming majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium, and woman of child-bearing age are especially vulnerable.

There is nothing horrible about chocolate, and consuming it at night is a good way to make sure that the magnesium it contains is used with maximum efficiency. I'd say keep enjoying chocolate in moderation, but try to add some more dark green leafy veggies to your diet!

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:44 PM

Very good point about the dark green stuff. In fact I always recommend that when I am suggesting what other people should eat, but I don't really get to excited by them myself. I'll add those and see if that makes any difference.

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on January 28, 2013
at 07:53 PM

Supplementing with magnesium has done nothing for my raging chocolate cravings. I do the magnesium fizz before bed, but the chocolate is before that.... waittasec.....

8
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Could be your body wanting magnesium. I'd fitday (or something similar) for a week or two, and see if you are frequently coming up short in that department.

7
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:39 PM

I wouldn't worry about it. The only problem with chocolate would be the carbs, but I looked up the Nutrition Facts for 99% chocolate, and a whole 50g bar only has 4g of carbs. So if you're only having a couple of squares, it's not worth worrying about. Chocolate (real chocolate) is mostly fat, and isn't a problem. I generally have about 4 squares of Lindt 90% after dinner every night.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:04 PM

@David: I used to eat a couple of squares of 85% after dinner, and noticed no effect on my sleep pattern. Then again, I have a double espresso every morning, but that's as much caffeine as I get for the day :)

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:50 AM

What about the stimulants(about the same caffeine as half a cup of coffee+the thebromine)/tannins?

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:56 PM

Seems like a lot of us are big fans of the chocolate. I suppose that is because it is a great treat without being too horrible for us. I just get a bit worried when I feel like driving a few miles for a Lindt bar. I guess if you have to be hooked on something, it could be worse.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 03, 2011
at 12:25 AM

I'd highly recommend the Green & Black 85% dark chocolate. Not even Godiva can match its smooth, rich taste!

7
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I'll bet that this is the really addictive stimulants in chocolate (caffeine, theobromine) and maybe some of the other polyphenols that have been suggested to reduce stress, rather than craving for magnesium or some such. I don't even know how much of the magnesium you'd absorb given chocolate's high antinutrient (phytic acid) content. I'm horrifically addicted to chocolate and this holds even when I've got plenty magnesium and copper (note that I don't crave magnesium or copper supplements...) and I also crave chocolate when it's not very tasty (highly diluted plain cocoa powder/raw whole cocoa beans with skins).

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

(812)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:02 PM

The fermentation process breaks down the phytates. Google Scholar it.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:26 AM

It might be hard to crave a supplement if you can't differentiate it by taste. I like the other arguments, though.

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 19, 2011
at 09:54 PM

I'll add that magnesium has been used to treat depression and anxiety, so if it is being absorbed, I can see why, that, plus a host of other feel-good chemicals make for an intoxicating cocktail; speaking as a chocolate addict myself.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:44 AM

@WaveHunter. You say I should "Google Scholar it" like the answer is self-evident upon minimal investigation. In fact, if you DO google scholar it (I prefer pubmed personally), the first link says "The chocolate drink contained relatively high amounts of polyphenolic compounds, phytic acid, and calcium, all well-known inhibitors of iron absorption." And this is a *chocolate drink* not 85% dark chocolate! (http://www.ajcn.org/content/67/5/873.short) The 3rd link down shows milk chocolate as having 215mg/100g, which compares to wholemeal bread at 237mg/100g...

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:47 AM

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1266816/pdf/biochemj01066-0063.pdf) @BeyondthePa1e possibly so, but I don't personally find that my chocolate cravings depend on magnesium status, or have any craving for any other magnesium rich food. (Actually, I don't remember any-one ever talking about craving any other magnesium source). Also the positive physiological effects of magnesium aren't instaneous, whereas, in my experience, the positive effects of chocolate are.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:32 AM

@Ambimorph. Thanks. I don't think the lack of taste would prevent cravings though, if the cravings are truly in response to the magnesium and not the taste. If you pair theobromine with one of two indistinguishable drinks, then affective liking for the theobromine paired drink will increase (the theobromine is in a capsule, just like magnesium). http://www.springerlink.com/content/k5412kjq5v63g766/

4
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 19, 2011
at 10:54 PM

Echoing the other posters, I'd recommend eating some magnesium-rich foods for the next week and see how you feel afterwards. You need to be getting 300-500mg a day, and no doubt Grok would have had plenty of magnesium in his diet from munching on surrounding flora.

Magnesium per serving-

Broccoli (1 cup) 22mg

Halibut (1/2 fillet) 170mg

Oysters (3oz) 49mg

Seeds--pumpkin & squash (1oz) 151mg

Spinach--cooked (1 cup) 157mg

Almonds (100g) 180mg

Cashews (100g) 170mg

Beet greens--cooked (1 cup) 98mg

Swiss Chard--cooked (1/2 cup) 76mg

Sweet potato (1/2 cup) 61mg

Acorn squash (1/2 cup) 43mg

And of course, dark chocolate! :)

If you can't bring yourself to eat that much roughage every day (or don't like any of it, lol) take a supplement first thing in the morning. Especially if you drink coffee, it accelerates magnesium loss due to its diuretic effect, so magnesium is peed out during the day. Which is not good if you're trying to keep your magnesium! Low magnesium levels negatively affect the absorption of calcium.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 19, 2011
at 10:59 PM

100g of unsweetened chocolate has 327mg of Magnesium without lots of PUFAs unlike almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds which have lots of PUFAs.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:00 PM

Yes, but chocolate has little to no fiber. As long as OP is getting enough fiber in his diet, that's cool, but if he's not, eating dark chocolate won't help matters much. I'd take a handful of almonds or cashews for the fiber content (and other minerals) any day. PUFAs aren't evil, only when they comprise the majority of your saturated fat intake.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:51 PM

I'm not sure I get enough fiber. I did forget to mention that I eat sweet potatos. I go through about 2 giant SPs a week. I'm going to add green leafy and keep my chocolate around 2 squares a day. Seems like a good way to go.

2
372a7df16057a50e588e0a6310b94027

on July 20, 2011
at 04:30 PM

Everyone is jumping on the magnesium bandwagon, but according to Julia Ross of The Mood Cure, it is also very likely a deficiency in the amino acid DLPA. DLPA is also high in caffeinated beverages like coffee. Do you find yourself craving caffeine, too?

You could try supplementing with it to see if your chocolate cravings go away. If yes, then you'll need to figure out why your diet is deficient in DLPA and work to correct it.

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on July 20, 2011
at 02:02 PM

As cravings go, 2-3 squares per night is child's play! I don't think it's doing you harm; it might even be doing you good. Enjoy it! Unless if course you are the type of person for whom it's a slippery slope and pretty soon you'll be eating half a bar each night. Or if you're just unhappy with any craving at all, then there's nothing like quitting to solve that problem.

I don't think you need a deficiency to crave things, especially something so delicious as chocolate. But others are saying Magnesium, and lots of paleo people supplement Mg just because it's a mineral that's especially depleted in our soil and therefore it is "natural", or "paleo", or whatever, to supplement with it.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:28 PM

I tend to agree that it is a fairly mundane craving issue. I feel like a recovering alcoholic worrying about eating food made with cooking wine. My problem is that Paleo has helped me recover from some major food problems, and I feel like I have to keep vigilant to keep from reverting back to my old ways, just with new problems.

2
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:07 PM

This is my personal anecdote.

I was never a huge fan of chocolate. I could always take it or leave it growing up eating all my breads and bagels and everything. As soon as I went low-carb paleo and saw that others were eating chocolate as a fine "treat" I started eating it and destroying 85%-99%chocolate bars. I then started craving it.

Over the last week or two weeks I have increased my starchy tuber intake as well as some fruit intake and I haven't had any chocolate cravings. So what does that mean to me? I think maybe my body was craving sugar and therefore the chocolate was providing that. Plus I may have been craving feeling good from more carbs so the stimulants and chemicals in the chocolate may have been providing that.

I can't prove any of that, but if you're craving something all the time that may not be good.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 01:09 PM

I think you are 100% correct. I've been working on a couple of giant sweet potatos this week and my chocolate craving has subsided somewhat. There isn't very much sugar in the 99% bars I have, but maybe just enough. So if it is sugar I am craving.. that might be a very unhealthy craving leftover from years of bad food choices. I doubt very much that I am at a place where I can trust my body to crave something properly. I'm thinking I should cut the sugar even more.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on February 22, 2012
at 07:58 PM

I am not so sure on that. I used to buy 85% chocolate, but my body did not like it as much. Now I have 100% chocolate, no sugar/anything added. My body LOVES it much better. Go figure.

2
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 20, 2011
at 06:45 AM

Along with a possible mineral deficiency, which you could begin to address via bone broth, your craving for chocolate could be a sign of depleted endorphins. I recommend Julia Ross' book The Mood Cure if you think this may be a possibility.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:51 PM

Someone mentioned that book to me recently. I'll check it out.

2
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on July 20, 2011
at 03:38 AM

You need to diversify your diet. I like the magnesium ideas, I swear by Natural Calm and recommend it to just about everyone since most soil is so damn deficient in Mg these days.

1
C0c24e16cadb7421c428a17ff25f4030

on January 21, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Contrary to popular thinking chocalate really doesn't have caffeine..rather it's theobromine and phenalyaline..both can act as a mild stimulent but without the harsh jolt of coffee, black tea,green tea and sodas...the magnesium is so necessary and helps relax and calm the body and chocalate not such a bad way to get some. Keep in mind all things in moderation and continue eating your greens and other colored veggies...very important!

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