Am I a Chocoholic?

Hi, I’m Leah and I’m a chocoholic. Every time I feel sad, I crave chocolate. After I take a bite of the delicious treat, I always seem to feel better. This got me thinking about whether or not my favorite feel-good snack actually alters my emotions and always leads me to crave more. After further research, I discovered that chocolate does in fact make people happier and is also addictive.

According to an article  by Simon Cotton in the Washington Post, the chemicals that compose chocolate are a main cause of the happiness it induces. Chocolate contains 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine, otherwise known as caffeine. This, and other stimulants chocolate contains such as heobromine make it addictive and pleasurable to consume. Containing serotonin tryptophan,chocolate also increases endorphin production. Although these chemicals are in small doses, they are a main contributor to chocolate cravings.

A study conducted by researchers at Yale University took volunteers and surveyed individuals to rank their levels of addictive behavior. The researchers then analyzed brain images of the most addictive participants in the presence of chocolate. The result of this was increased brain activity. This means that chocolate is not only enjoyable, but also addictive.

Dr. David Lewis, a neuropsychologist, found that the effects of chocolate are actually “better than kissing.” Dr. Lewis conducted an experiment that measured the brain activity and heart rates of couples in their twenties under two conditions: the first while eating chocolate and the second while kissing. The study found that chocolate had a much more profound and lasting impact on heart rate and brain stimulation, proving that chocolate is in fact better than kissing.

Both studies look at brain activity to determine the effects of chocolate on an individual. This is an extremely effective way of measuring a substance because it is randomized, controlled, and in both cases, produced statistically significant results that prove that chocolate is in fact, addictive.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/04/07/why-chocolate-really-is-the-secret-to-happiness-2/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6558775.stm

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1107239

4 thoughts on “Am I a Chocoholic?

  1. Alexandra Aldarelli

    Wow, you’ve literally found the recipe to cure broken hearts every where. I’ve always found it interesting that chocolate contains caffeine, especially since I absolutely despise coffee but LOVE chocolate. I have heard of people being addicted to coffee, and caffeine being the stimulate-so it makes sense that is the stimulate for chocoholics, also. Hopefully you prefer dark chocolate, since it can help lower blood pressure if you eat it 2-3 times a week, and it can improve cognitive function. I wonder if there are any studies on the effects of participants who eat coffee before an exam and those who do not, and if there is a correlation amongst their grades. I’m definitely going to try it out before my next exam.

  2. Kassidy Schupp

    This is really interesting! I didn’t know that chocolate actually altered emotions. But sometimes I feel that this isn’t the case. Yes, chocolate is delicious and it does fill my cravings but after eating the chocolate I seem to feel worse than I did before. I regret eating the chocolate and sometimes even actually feel sick to my stomach. Although chocolate does make me feel good for a second, I feel like the after effects are not as positive.

  3. Stephanie Michelle Friedman

    No wonder every time I feel sad I crave chocolate, I always felt it was a stereotypical thing to want chocolate but I guess there is a science behind it. When upset a Kit Kat or Hershey’s bar is the key to my heart and healing. It’s kind of annoying that a piece of fruit can’t make you feel better considering an overload of chocolate can be a mistake. There are proven health benefits of dark chocolate though, so if in desperate need I would recommend that over milk chocolate and probably get the same benefits. Dark chocolate is good for the heart (so helpful if broken (: ), brain, blood sugar, and is high in vitamins which are all beneficial factors. Keep in mind too much chocolate of any sorts is bad for anyone because it is extremely high in fat, so we all must be careful!! Indulge every once in a while and try a workout to release endorphins instead.

  4. Rana Mohamed

    I have always had a feeling that chocolate alters emotions, but more towards a mind over matter not literally. I am more of a white chocolate lover, which I just found is not actually chocolate because it does not contain cocoa powder. Also, white chocolate (fake chocolate) does not have the same health benefits as dark chocolate. Dark chocolate helps with cardiovascular health that comes from flavonol antioxidants. I still like white chocolate.

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