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Chocolate…as a protein substitute


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“Is it true that when you’re craving chocolate it means you’re protein deficient? I heard that once and started eating more chicken and peanut butter and I swear I still don’t crave sweets as much…”

This particular ‘myth’ struck me as interesting and (honestly) funny. Craving chocolate linked to your body wanting or needing protein? Hmm…

This led me on an interesting search. Everything from chocolate, cravings, sweets, protein-rich foods, hunger, diet, etc. I then started thinking about protein deficiency. Everything from vegan diets to critically-ill patients, to recovering surgical patients with amino acid and albumin deficiencies. Yes, I was thinking in the extremes and WAY outside the box on this one.

Whew… I gotta tell ya my head was going in circles. I was actually trying to find any shred of evidence that links hunger-pangs for chocolate to your body’s ‘level’ of protein and ‘needing’ protein? Chocolate in essence satisfying your body’s protein need? Yeah, I know, as crazy as it sounds I wanted to see if the myth had a leg to stand on.

Sorry to say, but I didn’t find anything that links chocolate cravings to a protein deficiency. A whole lot of dead ends. And to have chicken and peanut butter stave off your cravings of chocolate? – well I’m just tickled pink by that.

I have a theory though!

Chocolate, or any sweet for that matter, is all about the tasting experience. Chocolate specifically has a very low value of ‘nutrition’ when it comes to satisfying your body’s basic needs to survive and thrive. Chocolate, while has some great immediate carbohydrates, is really all about the ‘taste’. Eating a piece of chocolate because of its nutritional value is kind of like chewing a stick of gum to burn calories, while both are a valiant effort, neither are very effective.

I believe the ‘sweet’ craving of chocolate gets satisfied by the peanut butter, nothing more, nothing less. Peanut butter has some nutritional value to it – but must not be abused. The higher fat content in peanut butter negates it’s nutritional value quickly when taken in large portions.

The chicken is packed full of protein. I can’t say it has anything to do with this equation, other than maybe helping with the ‘hunger’ portion. Foods higher in protein not only satisfy your hunger, but have been known to keep you ‘full’ longer than any complex carbohydrate out there (this is the cornerstone of those ‘Atkins diets).

Here’s my suggestion for the chocolate craving, and maybe I just like to repeat myself. The minute you get the craving do two separate things (if you can). First, drink 12 ounces of water immediately. If you still want that chocolate after you’re full of water then proceed to step two. Take off your shirt, or put on your favorite swim suit (if you can’t, then look for and carry around a picture of yourself ‘exposed’). Anything that will ‘expose’ those parts of your body that you want to ‘trim down’. If you still want that chocolate after seeing your body exposed, then by all means go for it. At this point you haven’t made your weight loss goal a priority.

I myself can get past the water every time, but taking off my shirt is where I find myself putting down the sweets.

Sorry for my satirical look at this latest weight loss myth. I tend to mix my personal feelings with my professional knowledge and this is the end result.

What do you think?

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