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Chocolate Is The Most Widely Craved Food, But Is It Really Addictive?

Date:
September 12, 2007
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Chocolate is the most widely and frequently craved food, but our passion for chocolate, and its effects on mood, is due mainly to its principal constituents, sugar and fat, and their related orosensory and nutritional effects, rather than any addictive properties of chocolate.

Chocolate is the most widely and frequently craved food. People readily admit to being 'addicted to chocolate' or willingly label themselves as 'chocoholics'. A popular explanation for this is that chocolate contains mood-enhancing (psychoactive) ingredients that give it special appeal.

Evidence and logic, however, find little support for this. Substances present in chocolate which have been highlighted as potentially pharmacologically significant include serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyramine and cannabinoids. However, many of these compounds exist in higher concentrations in other foods with less appeal than chocolate.

Professor Peter Rogers, from the University of Bristol, UK, explains: "A more compelling explanation lies in our ambivalent attitudes towards chocolate -- it is highly desired but should be eaten with restraint (nice but naughty). Our unfulfilled desire to eat chocolate, resulting from restraint, is thus experienced as craving, which in turn is attributed to 'addiction'."

A further observation is that the most widely preferred chocolate is milk chocolate and chocolate-covered confectionery. These contain a lower amount of cocoa solids, and therefore a lower concentration of potentially psychoactive compounds, than 'dark' chocolate which is not so widely craved.

It is therefore far more plausible to suggest that a liking for chocolate, and its effects on mood, are due mainly to its principal constituents, sugar and fat, and their related orosensory and nutritional effects.

The evidence as to whether chocolate can really become addictive is examined by Professor Peter Rogers from the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Uk.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Chocolate Is The Most Widely Craved Food, But Is It Really Addictive?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070911073921.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2007, September 12). Chocolate Is The Most Widely Craved Food, But Is It Really Addictive?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070911073921.htm
University of Bristol. "Chocolate Is The Most Widely Craved Food, But Is It Really Addictive?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070911073921.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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