The real reason you're craving chocolate all the time

Chocolate is one of those things that so many of us can't help but love — even though we know it's not the healthiest thing we can feed our bodies. But there's a big difference between simply wanting chocolate and craving chocolate, especially if you're a woman.

According to Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University, if find yourself craving chocolate every month, there's a good chance you have low magnesium, or potentially even a magnesium deficiency, as a result of your period. "Around the time of your period, your body uses up more magnesium, which is why many women experience PMS and chocolate food cravings simultaneously," Dr. Young told Shape.

However, as Vandana Sheth, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, that's not always the case. "Food cravings are often thought to be associated with nutrient deficiencies, but this may not always be the case," she explained. "They may also be caused by a combination of social, emotional, cultural, and environmental cues."

Low blood sugar and stress can cause chocolate cravings

When it comes to chocolate, low blood sugar could even be a contributing factor. As Lorraine Kearney, certified dietitian/nutritionist and founder of New York City Nutrition, explained to PureWow: "When we wait too long in between meals, our blood sugar drops and we crave energy, which we get from food." She went on, "Reaching for sugar will give a quick energy boost, but your blood sugar will drop quickly and you'll end up craving even more chocolate." 

Stress could also be the culprit. We all know what stress eating is, but if you find yourself only ever wanting to stress eat chocolate, that's because chocolate contains a lot of sugar and fat, which are two nutrients the body needs to survive, dietitian and nutritionist Jo Travers told Cosmopolitan

While having a little bit of chocolate every day or so isn't going to hurt you, if you're worried about your chocolate cravings, identifying the real reason behind them is a great place to start if you're hoping to stop them from happening so often.