Wednesday, 12 Sep, 2007 Health & Fitness

Chocolate - Really Addictive?


It's not necessary to conduct any study to come to the conclusion that chocolate is on the top of the list of the most widely and frequently desired food. A lot of people are ready to admit they are chocolate-addicted or call themselves chocoholics. People usually explain their addiction to chocolate by its mood-enhancing (psychoactive) ingredients.

But if to consider evidence and logic, you will not find much support for such explanation. Potentially pharmacologically important substances contained in chocolate are serotonin, phenylethylamine, tryptophan, cannabinoids and tyramine. You will probably be surprised to find out that these compounds are higher concentrated in other foods not so appealing as chocolate.

Professor Peter Rogers, University of Bristol, has another explanation for the chocolate-addiction. He explains chocolate's great popularity by ambivalent attitudes towards it - on the one hand, it's highly craved but at the same time should be eaten with restraint. Chocolate-addicted feel unfulfilled desire to eat chocolate that results from restraint, and is then attributed to addiction.

It should be also mentioned that the most widely desired chocolate is milk chocolate as well as confectionery covered by chocolate. These foods contain less cocoa solids, implying a lower concentration of psychoactive compounds, than 'dark' chocolate which is in fact not so popular.

Considering the facts mentioned above, there appears the suggestion that love for chocolate, and its positive effects on people's mood, are due mainly to sugar and fat, its major compounds, and the related nutrition value and orosensory effects. As the conclusion, do not be afraid to become chocolate-addicted. Enjoy eating chocolate but remember to know when to stop!

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