It may be a mystery to roughly half the population as to why women crave chocolate. The main reason for this is that the half that’s confused consists of the males of the world. They don’t understand women, and even though chocolate is far less complex, they don’t get that, either. The reasons are not so much based on gender-culture as on hormones. In a way, though, that may be construed as being a gender issue.
There are some times of the month, aka the female cycle, when some women would gladly kill for chocolate. Ice cream, bars, those little round boxed candies that hold either some sugary delight or a nut geared to break your teeth, chocolate milk… any or all of them will hold the beast within at bay once it is satisfied. If not, God help anybody getting in the way of chocolate and a pre-menstrual female. Even for those of us who are allergic to all cocoa-laden products, the craving’s effects are akin to the full moon’s way with the werewolf. In other words, it’s not pretty.
The culprit in the sweet is not sugar, otherwise any candy or other tooth-rotting confection would suffice. Instead, the problem is an alkaloid known as theobromine, which is found in cocoa beans, cola nuts, tea leaves, and in smaller doses in other foods. In high doses (is there such a thing?) it can be addictive and even poisonous. Dogs, cats, and possibly birds (not a lot of research there so far) cannot process theobromine and thus can die from ingesting this chemical. Women, however, have a rather high tolerance where this is concerned. Right before and often during the monthly period, it may feel like you must consume large quantities of chocolate. While males may consider this irrational (in other words, they’re stumped by it), there is logic behind it.
For one thing, theobromine is a diuretic, and there can be a lot of relief gained by ingesting something that helps get rid of bloating. Another benefit is the effect theobromine has on the serotonin levels of the female brain. Typically, serotonin drops during the pre-menstrual time, resulting in depression and/or mood swings. Increasing that will help alleviate the misery connected with this time of month. Additionally, the dopamine levels may be increased by ingesting theobromine, making you feel generally better. Despite being a stimulant, like its relative, caffeine, theobromine can settle its user down and relieve stress. With chocolate containing a small amount of caffeine as well, is it any wonder women get such a craving?
The name theobromine is derived from the Greek words “theo”, meaning “God”, and “broma”, meaning “food.” Therefore, this substance is obviously a “food of God”, a divine gift sent to earth to relieve stress, improve moods, and make life so much better, above all when you feel like you want to shred anyone who gets in your way.
With the male half of the human species, having little estrogen (or oestrogen) of their own, the changing cycles of each month mean nothing to them. Therefore, with little going on in their brains (take that anyway you like) as far as chemical reactions go, there is no real need for this heaven-sent remedy to get them in a better mood. They stay pretty much the same all the time. Women understand this and relate to the fluctuations of brain chemicals.
For that reason, women understand chocolate and the need for it, especially depending on their own personal calendar. Hence the popular saying: “hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt.”