Why does pregnancy cause chocolate cravings?

Has your pregnancy sparked (somewhat strangely) an insatiable desire for chocolate – something that you thought you had under control after years of effort? Firstly, you’re not the only one (pregnancy cravings affect up to 90 per cent of women) and secondly, new research has dished the dirt on why we are seeing Cadbury’s bars before our eyes and having chocolate cravings as we wake and sleep.

chocolate cravings

Has your pregnancy sparked (somewhat strangely) an insatiable desire for chocolate – something that you thought you had under control after years of effort? Firstly, you’re not the only one (pregnancy cravings affect up to 90 per cent of women) and secondly, new research has dished the dirt on why we are seeing Cadbury’s bars before our eyes and having chocolate cravings as we wake and sleep.

Researchers from SUNY College in New York have revealed that it’s all in the head – cravings are spurred on by the subconscious belief that pregnancy gives us license to eat more and whatever; it’s not about the hormones, ladies. Now although this might freak you out a bit, it’s actually great news! It means that we can control our cravings, it’s not just a chemical thing that is running rampant in our bodies.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, debunks the theories that pregnant women develop chocolate cravings because their bodies are calling out for certain nutrients (otherwise we’d be eating milk, meat or spinach etc.) and that pregnant women are eating for two (because cravings start in the first trimester long before the majority of foetal growth demands extra nutrients). In fact, it’s as if pregnancy sort of triggers our brains…

And that’s exactly what the experts are saying; pregnancy gives us leeway to eat chocolate. And what makes the craving worse is the trying not to crave it. Natalia Orloff, one of the chief psychologists on the research project (which is ongoing) says that conflicting attitudes associated with ‘bad foods’ (unhealthy or fattening) that make women feel guilty for indulging, make cravings worse; resulting in alternating restraint and overconsumption or binge eating. And during pregnancy women are not only competing with unrealistic ideals of female beauty but also ‘what is best for the baby’.

It’s tough. It’s also fascinating. And the best way to deal with cravings, understanding that your mind might be messing with you and that yes, your body, in fact, might be telling you it needs a mineral that you’re not getting enough of (depending on your stage in pregnancy) is to do things in moderation. Some chocolate here and there is totally fine but if you feel your craving getting excessive try healthier options (that are also sweet) – yoghurt, dark chocolate, raisons etc. Be reasonable, that’s all.

Did you experience any pregnancy cravings? 

Source: Dailymail.co.uk – “Mothers-to-be crave chocolate because pregnancy is the only time they can indulge without feeling guilty” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2794252/mothers-crave-chocolate-pregnancy-time-indulge-without-feeling-guilty.html#ixzz3Gg8Fh1ZR)