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.