Craving chocolate all the time - what could this mean? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a very healthy eater usually - I avoid processed foods, drink tons of water, no caffeine, lots of organic fruits and veggies, etc. I enjoy eating that way and don't find it difficult. I am also a person who believes that if my body wants something (and usually it wants fruit or protein or something healthy), that it probably means my body needs it, and I go ahead and eat it.

My one thing is that pretty much every day, I want to eat chocolate, lots of chocolate. Not candy or other sweets, just chocolate. Is there something in chocolate that maybe I'm missing in my diet? Any reason that someone might crave chocolate? Anyone else have this problem?
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:58 AM
 
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You're pregnant? Just teasing! I have no idea, but chocolate cravings seem to be very common in women. Have you tried eating dark chocolate? It's good for you, unlike milk chocolate, and it's so rich that it's hard to eat too much.

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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I think it means that you should eat chocolate. Like Jessica said, not lots and lots of crappy chocolate, but a square or two or three of good dark chocolate. See if that helps.
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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Well chocolate contains caffeine and sugar, so those stimulating property are one possibility. However, considering that you don't crave caffeine or sugar in other sources, I have another hunch. How is the magnesium intake in your diet? Many modern diets have high calcium levels with comparatively low levels of magnesium, a mineral which is absolutely necessary for effective calcium utilization in the body. (Regtop. H Is magnesium the grossly neglected mineral? International Clinical Nutrition Review 3: pp18-19, July 1983) Magnesium stimulates the production of a hormone called "calcitonin" which helps to increase calcium in the bones, and keep it from entering the soft tissues (which causes problems such as bone spurs etc.) Anyways, chocolate is high in magnesium. (Although I don’t consider most chocolate candy an excellent source unless you are eating unprocessed, unsweetened.) So, I would personally take a look at my daily diet, and go on a trial of eating more high magnesium foods to see if the chocolate cravings ease up. Examples of high magnesium foods include: dried seaweeds, beans (soy, black, mung, adzuki, lima) whole unprocessed grains and nuts (try almonds and cashews) and seeds (sesame is good). More info on this topic can be found in the book Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. HTH.
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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treespeak - THANKS! That's *exactly* what I wanted. I am actually eating dark chocolate only, 70% cocoa or above. I never crave the crappy chocolate like hershey's kisses or anything. Only the high quality dark dark chocolate will do. I'll give it a shot - thanks to all!
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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wow great info about the magnesium treespeak! I have this problem too

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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That is super interesting about the magnesium. Sometimes I crave chocolate too and I know it's not the chocolate I want -- it's something missing in my diet.

I've heard that people who are not getting enough protein can crave chocolate. We eat very little meat, and when I've craved chocolate in the past, I have tried some protein (often tofu) and it seems to make the chocolate craving go away. But maybe this is because I am getting some magnesium with the tofu?
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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Yes, I was going to say magnesium too!

You know what I like? Raw cacao shells. They're not exactly like chocolate, but they satisfy that mineral hunger.
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:35 PM
 
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One other (less appealing) possibility is an intolerance to chocolate. I think this is part of why I crave chocolate--I didn't figure out the intolerance until my son was old enough to occasionally have a little and it caused rashes. Then, when I talked to my mom, I learned there are several other people in the family who've had problems with chocolate. Bummer for us. Hope it's the magnesium for you!
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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wow great info about the magnesium treespeak! I have this problem too
: I do too! I can eat super healthy, but I have to have my chocolate. I also believe it means my body needs something, but I never knew about the magnesium connection.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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But the question is, do you crave other foods high in magnesium? Figs? Tofu? Leafy greens? If not then perhaps there's something else about chocolate that creates these cravings...

Chocolate is known to contain compounds that stimulate the opiate sensors in the brain. People who have been given the opiate blocker drug naloxone do not crave chocolate the way they normally do. Chocolate also contains caffeine and a related chemical theobromine (the chemical that can be deadly to dogs) that both have an "upper" effect. In addition, chocolate has an amphetamine-like compound called phenylethylamine (PEA) which is also found in other foods (cheese and salami, for example) which makes these foods somewhat addictive. And get this, chocolate delays the breakdown of a chemical in the brain - anandamide - that is related to the THC found in marijuana. Who knew? Anyway, my point is that chocolate is chock full of chemicals that are pleasure inducing and mildly addictive. No wonder we love it so.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lemongrass View Post
But the question is, do you crave other foods high in magnesium? Figs? Tofu? Leafy greens? If not then perhaps there's something else about chocolate that creates these cravings...

Chocolate is known to contain compounds that stimulate the opiate sensors in the brain. People who have been given the opiate blocker drug naloxone do not crave chocolate the way they normally do. Chocolate also contains caffeine and a related chemical theobromine (the chemical that can be deadly to dogs) that both have an "upper" effect. In addition, chocolate has an amphetamine-like compound called phenylethylamine (PEA) which is also found in other foods (cheese and salami, for example) which makes these foods somewhat addictive. And get this, chocolate delays the breakdown of a chemical in the brain - anandamide - that is related to the THC found in marijuana. Who knew? Anyway, my point is that chocolate is chock full of chemicals that are pleasure inducing and mildly addictive. No wonder we love it so.
fascinating info lemongrass! I actually do crave tofu and leafy greens just like I do with chocolate!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lemongrass View Post
But the question is, do you crave other foods high in magnesium? Figs? Tofu? Leafy greens? If not then perhaps there's something else about chocolate that creates these cravings...

Chocolate is known to contain compounds that stimulate the opiate sensors in the brain. People who have been given the opiate blocker drug naloxone do not crave chocolate the way they normally do. Chocolate also contains caffeine and a related chemical theobromine (the chemical that can be deadly to dogs) that both have an "upper" effect. In addition, chocolate has an amphetamine-like compound called phenylethylamine (PEA) which is also found in other foods (cheese and salami, for example) which makes these foods somewhat addictive. And get this, chocolate delays the breakdown of a chemical in the brain - anandamide - that is related to the THC found in marijuana. Who knew? Anyway, my point is that chocolate is chock full of chemicals that are pleasure inducing and mildly addictive. No wonder we love it so.
Excellent points Lemongrass. Here's a website that bridges both your point about the stimulants in chocolate being a source of cravings and the ideas I put forward about chocolate cravings being a potential sign of magnesium defficiency.http://drdavidwilliams.com/nc/magnesium.asp

So I should clarify that it's not simply a shortage of magnesium, but rather an imbalance between calcium and magnesium. From what I have researched, calcium and magnesium intake should be about equal, whereas many people eating processed foods and ample dairy have relatively higher levels of calcium.

Other signs that could be related to calcium/magnesium imbalance from the web page sighted above:
* leg cramps;
* heart and blood vessel disease and clogging;
* kidney stones;
* osteoporosis;
* psoriasis; and
* depression and nervousness.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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Oh yeah, there's no doubt that many people have a calcium/magnesium imbalance. We're so bombarded with the dairy council's message to drink milk/eat dairy for calcium, but dairy sorely lacks magnesium. That could definitely make people crave magnesium containing foods like chocolate. On the other hand, I know that I love chocolate for all the other reasons because I get lots of magnesium in my diet and don't consume any dairy. I'm just a chocoholic.
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lemongrass View Post
Oh yeah, there's no doubt that many people have a calcium/magnesium imbalance. We're so bombarded with the dairy council's message to drink milk/eat dairy for calcium, but dairy sorely lacks magnesium. That could definitely make people crave magnesium containing foods like chocolate. On the other hand, I know that I love chocolate for all the other reasons because I get lots of magnesium in my diet and don't consume any dairy. I'm just a chocoholic.
I hear you on this!

Additionally, I didn't really address your question of why people with a calcium/magnesium imbalance might crave chocolate rather than figs or tofu (etc.) It's a great point/question. Chocolate (not milk chocolate, obviously) has about a 4:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium, while figs and tofu have roughly twice as much calcium as magnesium. So theoretically, if a body needed more magnesium in relationship to calcium, chocolate would be more effective. But I'm still not advocating unlimited consumption of chocolate bars!
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well this is all fascinating - I had no idea. Maybe I'll just keep eating chocolate and not think about it so much
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:16 PM
 
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Huh, I do also crave leafy greens when I crave chocolate (not at the same time though!).
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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I hear you on this!

Additionally, I didn't really address your question of why people with a calcium/magnesium imbalance might crave chocolate rather than figs or tofu (etc.) It's a great point/question. Chocolate (not milk chocolate, obviously) has about a 4:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium, while figs and tofu have roughly twice as much calcium as magnesium. So theoretically, if a body needed more magnesium in relationship to calcium, chocolate would be more effective. But I'm still not advocating unlimited consumption of chocolate bars!
That makes perfect sense.
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Old 04-11-2008, 03:05 AM
 
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Okay, this is totally crazy! I went to a neurologist today b/c I have bad headaches almost daily and the like to turn into migraines. He's pretty sure it is a magnesium deficiency!! I was just thinking how crazy it was after reading about it here.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:08 AM
 
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When I was pregnant, I got migraines almost daily. My midwife recommended cal/mag supplements and my migraines disappeared. I have recently been craving chocolate like crazy and also getting a lot of headaches again - after reading this I just reached for my cal/mag bottle Thanks for the reminder!

Unschooling Mama to Asher (6) and Jasper (3) Crazy obsessed needle felter and maker of toys http://www.asherjasper.etsy.com
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:09 AM
 
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what cal/mag supplement is best? what dosage? also what are the top foods high in magnesium other than leafy greens, tofu and chocolate??? is it possible to take/get too much magniesium? also what are the other deficiency signs and symptoms?

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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Old 04-14-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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At Walgreens(I have only found it at Walgreens) they have a calcium supplement called Adora. It is a DELICIOUS piece of nice dark chocolate chock full of calcium and b6.
I take it everyday(:get to eat! shall I say), it satisfies my chocolate cravings, and fulfills my daily calcium requirement.

I would suggest it to anyone!
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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what cal/mag supplement is best? what dosage? also what are the top foods high in magnesium other than leafy greens, tofu and chocolate??? is it possible to take/get too much magniesium? also what are the other deficiency signs and symptoms?
Beans, vegetables (leafy greens are the best, but other veggies are good, too), and nuts. I don't think you can get too much magnesium from whole foods. Not sure what a deficiency would look like - if you eat a whole foods diet, mostly plants, you really don't need to worry about it.
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