Why You Crave Carbs, Sugar, and Chocolate When You're Depressed - Deepstash
Why You Crave Carbs, Sugar, and Chocolate When You're Depressed

Why You Crave Carbs, Sugar, and Chocolate When You're Depressed

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Why You Crave Carbs, Sugar, and Chocolate When You're Depressed

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Why You Self-Medicate With Carbs and Sugar During Depression

Cravings can be your body’s way of letting you know it’s not getting something it needs, such as a specific vitamin or mineral.

You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of the treats you enjoy. The key is understanding why you are craving them and making sure that your overall diet is balanced and nutritious.

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Why We Get Cravings

A food craving is defined as an intense desire for a specific food. Most people experience cravings at one time or another, and there are many factors that determine their frequency and intensity:

  • Psychological or emotional stress;
  • Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications;
  • Hormone imbalances (especially in relation to pregnancy and the menstrual cycle);
  • Physical and mental health conditions (such as type 1 diabetes, depression, and eating disorders).

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A Theory About Cravings

Researchers believe that having an imbalance of serotonin in the brain contributes to the development of depression. When you're craving carbs, you're usually being drawn to foods that encourage serotonin production. Craving carbs can be your body's way of self-medicating depression.

Over time, a high-sugar and carbs diet may worsen symptoms of depression (especially if you tend to feel guilty about having or "giving in" to cravings).

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Chocolate Cravings

Here's why you might be suffering from "chocoholism":

  • Alkaloids in chocolate may raise the levels of serotonin (the happiness hormone) in the brain.
  • Feeling like you need chocolate might indicate you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet.
  • Chocolate also contains “drug-like” constituents such as anandamides, caffeine, and phenylethylamine, which can wield a powerful influence on mood.

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Coping With Food Cravings

There are some ways you can learn to cope not only with cravings but what is causing them:

  • Practice becoming more aware of your emotional triggers for eating. The next time you pick up a "comfort food" ask yourself why you're reaching for it.
  • Find new activities to replace snacking or distract yourself from cravings, you may want to try using the opportunity to exercise.
  • Mindful eating helps you plan meals and snacks intentionally. You may find it useful to keep a food journal to help you track.

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