Why Am I Craving Chocolate? | Friars
Why am I craving chocolate you might ask. Well if you have asked yourself that question you’re probably not alone. Theres something about chocolate that makes it an almost addictive “go to” when the urge strikes. Comfort, feel good, celebratory, rounding off a meal, all valid reasons to indulge, but just why am I craving chocolate to fulfill these needs?
Well, its probably best to not get overly technical or scientific as to why you might be craving chocolate. Suffice to say that some chocolate ingredients are involved in giving us that almost addictive desire to satisfy ourselves with chocolate. But what is it about chocolate that makes me want it so much?
Why am I craving chocolate and that satisfaction it brings?
Loosely speaking, it is for just that reason. The chocolate satisfies our desire. This desire is partly fed by two certain factors relevant to chocolate. The first is pharmacological and the second is additives, in the form of sugar and fats, and because chocolate contains both it fits the bill. This is not exclusive to chocolate of course and it applies to other foods that contain both sugars and fats too.
We all know of someone who has had that session of comfort eating, feet up, sofa, film on the tv, a good helping of chocolate in one form or another to be consumed and savoured as it eases the ‘pain’ of whatever ails them. But does chocolate make things better? Is that why I am craving chocolate?
Is Chocolate Addictive?
There are many scientists who doubt the the truth of ‘chocolate addiction’, however most would agree that craving for chocolate is very real indeed. It is known that chocolate, especially of the dark variety, has an effect on mood. In fact when it comes to foods that people crave, almost invariably its chocolate that is at the top of the list. The smoothness and creaminess of chocolate combined with the sweetness, is a major sensory delight and altogether gives an extremely pleasurable experience to the consumer.
As well as the smoothness and creaminess of milk chocolate, which is more preferred in the UK, the same ingredients that promote good feeling, are found to a greater degree in the more pure, dark version of chocolate.
Therefore it is reasonable when asking, “Why am I craving chocolate”?, for many to ask, “Why am I craving dark chocolate“?
Back to those craving inducing elements then.
Theobromine; despite the title doesn’t contain any bromine. No, that is derived from the name of the cocoa producing tree, Theobroma. The Mayans gave it this name, with Theo meaning drink and Broma meaning God, ergo drink of the gods. Such was the esteem given to the earliest drinks made from the cocoa bean and so its understandable that with modern refinements it has become even more revered and desirable.
The effect of Theobromine is that uplifting one that is gained from caffeine and nicotine so one can begin to see part of that feelgood factor.
Anandamide; has that easing effect that one associates with the THC content of cannabis. Anandamide works on a receptor that causes Dopamine production, something many of us know to give a ‘high’ good feeling. Of course the effect is not the same as that achieved from smoking the herb, you’d have to eat a lot of chocolate to feel that. StillAnandamide is known to ease anxiety, again a reason to munch a comforting bar when you’ve had one of those days.
Phenylethylamine (PEA); is a chemical that stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres and one that is released when we fall in love. Which foodstuff tops the table for content of this romantic stimulus? Unsurprisingly, chocolate does.
Sucrose; or sugar is to be found in almost all chocolate bars, to a lesser extent in dark and a greater extent in milk chocolate. When we eat something sweet our tatse buds send a message to the brain stimulating the release of the chemicals associated with reward and pleasure. Probably why one piece of chocolate is never enough. Well, lets face it, who doesn’t enjoy being rewarded?
If milk chocolate has more sugar then why do I crave dark chocolate? Dark chocolate alone generally has a sugar content of 30 per cent so is in itself quite rewarding on the sweetness scale. Of course it also has more of the cocoa bean in its makeup so maybe a larger helping of ‘feelgood’ factor content is the attraction.
There are other chemicals found in chocolate that give rise to production of serotonin and others that release endorphins, further boosting those good feelings.
So, when you next wonder why you are craving chocolate, or why you are craving that dark chocolate even, you can perhaps think, ahhh yes I know now some of the reasons.
But setting those aside, it may just be because chocolate is a satisfyingly great eating experience and you love it!