Women: Give in to your chocolate cravings, you’ll feel happier and thinner

The information in this article couldn’t be timelier with the recent celebration of Halloween. Unless you’re some sort of alien or an obsessive health fanatic who never eats sugar, ever, it’s likely you’ve had a few bites of chocolate over the spooky holiday.

Don’t fret! It’s OK. What I’m about to tell you isn’t new news, but rather something we women simply need reminding of from time to time: Eating chocolate every now and then is OK; if fact, our bodies NEED it.

Nutritionist and best-selling author Debra Waterhouse educates readers on why caving to your cravings can actually help you boost your mood, lose weight and develop sensible eating patterns in her book Why Women Need Chocolate: Eat What You Crave to Look and Feel Great.

Waterhouse writes:

“Women are wonderfully unique, ever-changing, compassionate beings. We have estrogen. We have mood swings. We have food cravings. We have special food needs. We did 1,000 years ago, 100 years ago, and we do today. Each of these physical and emotional traits is an integral part of being a woman, and their balance is vital to a woman’s mind and body.”

Understanding food and mood

“Recently, a new field of nutrition and women’s health has emerged: the study of the effects of estrogen and food on powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals.

“My first chapter will provide a full and uncomplicated explanation, but for starters here are some research highlights: Over a decade ago, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began the search for a link between food and mood. They found that various foods high in sugar and starch boosted a potent brain chemical called serotonin that brought about feelings of calmness and general mood stability.

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“It wasn’t until more recently, however, that the evidence surfaced relating the food-mood link specifically to women. Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York found that food cravings coincided perfectly with reproductive needs.

“Women frequently craved sugar because of estrogen’s effect on brain chemicals and blood sugar levels. This effect explained why female food cravings emerged at puberty, intensified premenstrually and during pregnancy, and diminished (but didn’t disappear) after menopause.

Fat in food releases feel good feelings in the brain

“With the connection between women and sugar cravings on solid scientific ground, University of Michigan researchers took the female food-mood link one step further: Women didn’t just crave sugar for its calming effects, they also craved fat for its mood-elevating effects.

“Fat was found to release another brain chemical, the endorphins, which energized the mind and lifted the spirit. Indeed, the most powerful female food cravings are for sugar and fat combinations, with the most powerful craving of all for, of course, chocolate.

“Chocolate has the perfect combination of sugar and fat, plus a plethora of other ingredients that account for its unmatched biological and psychological experience.

“Wait! The research discoveries get even more interesting. Back at Rockefeller University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers were busy trying to figure out what to do about these sugar/fat food cravings and found that the best way to manage food cravings is to satisfy them immediately with a small portion.

“Abstinence and restriction only served to fuel the food cravings, trigger binge eating, and further deteriorate mood, while fulfillment satisfied the craving, prevented overeating, and enhanced mood.

“The enlightening conclusion: food cravings are not a problem to be treated, but a blessing to be encouraged.

“The scientific research explains why women crave chocolate, sugar, and fat, and the vital reasons why women should always respond to their food cravings. When we listen to our bodies and give ourselves guilt-free permission to immediately fulfill our food cravings, we will feel better, function more efficiently, eat less, control our weight, and we’ll never have to diet again.”



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