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Investigating the effect of chocolate on mood, how addiction can develop and how people perceive chocolate.

Lindsay Wright

on 27 January 2013

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Transcript of Chocolate

The basis of chocolate "addiction" Study undertaken by Michener and Rozin Findings Conclusion What is "addiction"? Gave subjects either:
- milk chocolate
- white chocolate
- white chocolate + cocoa capsule
- cocoa capsule
- placebo capsule These results suggest that chocolate craving is purely due to the sensation of eating chocolate, as chocolate was the only option to contain the full "sensory effect" of chocolate consumption. In the following study, addiction was defined as a "strong craving" such that the person would go out of their way to obtain chocolate. Three theories: 1. Desire for sensation of chocolate
2. Corrects deficiency
3. Other internal physiological factor If addiction was due to pharmacological effect, cocoa would satisfy the craving, as it contains all the same pharmacologically active agents as chocolate. If due to calorific content, texture, fat or sweetness then white chocolate would satisfy the craving. If due to the placebo effect, the placebo capsule would work. If due to anything other than taste alone, white chocolate + cocoa capsules should work. This does not answer the question of why women crave chocolate during menstruation, nor why women crave more than men, nor why no other food seems to have this effect on humans. The full story behind "addiction" to chocolate is still unknown. Other research claims that chocolate addiction is real, and as powerful as addiction to cigarettes and alcohol, with people who have addictive personalities being more likely to feel "addiction" than people without. Do we "need" chocolate? Strong link between PMS and chocolate consumption.
Could this be social?
Research suggests PMS is a socially constructed phenomenon - perhaps we just feel like we should be craving chocolate at this time and the craving is purely psychological. Nutritional deficiencies:
Premenstrual women are lower in magnesium, something in which chocolate is rich. However, why do women not crave other magnesium foods, such as nuts? Calorific content:
When blood sugar is low, we may crave a sugary snack, however there no explanation for why chocolate is the preferred snack. Mood
Chocolate makes us feel good, perhaps mood is the link between PMS and chocolate craving. Have you ever eaten some chocolate after a bad day and felt it has made you happier? Or have you ever had a craving for chocolate so badly that you needed to eat some right away? If you have experienced either or both of these feelings you are like the majority of the population. It has now become a common belief in our society that eating chocolate has a positive effect on mood.
We chose to investigate this topic for a few reasons. Firstly, we wanted to find out if there was actually any scientific proof behind the belief that chocolate makes you feel happy. We also wanted to find out if people can become addicted to chocolate or if people simply experience cravings for chocolate. Also being students undertaking a notoriously stressful degree , we wanted to find out if eating chocolate would help us relax in the run up to exams. And lastly, we were quite happy to undertake some personal experimentation into the subject!

Our journey through the world of chocolate and mood will teach us about the history of chocolate, what mood is, the biological effects of eating chocolate, why chocolate can make us feel happy and guilty, why we sometimes feel that we need chocolate and the reasons for chocolate addiction. So, if you are ready we will begin. Introduction Chocolate is made from the fruit of the cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao). The tree is found in central and South America and Equatorial countries especially Africa. The Mayans were the first reported people to use the cacao tree in 600AD. They worshipped it and made a spicy, bitter tasting drink by roasting the cacao beans and pounding them with a mixture of spices and flavours. By 1200 the Aztecs also used the cacao beans to make a hot drink which they believed was precious and extremely valuable. It is reported that Christopher Columbus discovered the cacao beans on his fourth voyage to America in the 1500’s and brought the beans back to Spain with him. The Spanish people did not like the drink that was made with the beans at first but they sweetened it with sugar and vanilla to suit their tastes. It was during this time that the term ‘chocolate’ was coined. The Mayans and Aztecs had called the drink ‘xocoatl’ but the Spanish found it easier to say ‘chocolate’. These chocolate drinks seemed to become increasingly popular across Europe and in 1520 chocolate arrived in England.
Cacao beverages were consumed for many centuries before it was discovered how to use cacao in confectionary. In the mid 1600’s bakers started to add cacao powder to cakes to give them a chocolate flavour. However it was in 1828 that a revolution in the chocolate world occurred. A Dutchman named Johannes Van Houten discovered how to remove cocoa butter from the roasted cacao beans. Cocoa butter is essential for making solid chocolate bars. The first solid dark chocolate bar was made in England in 1847. Since then milk and white chocolate have been developed and chocolate has taken on many forms as its popularity has grown. The Background of Chocolate Facts about chocolate consumption:
- It has been estimated that every year every person in the UK consumes 10.2kg of chocolate. This makes us the 5th greatest chocolate consuming nation in the world.
- 66% of chocolate is consumed between meals.
- More chocolate is consumed in winter than any other season.
- Europeans account for half of the chocolate the world eats.
- The chocolate industry is worth £3.5 billion in the UK. Similarly, the consumption of chocolate is deemed to help combat stress.
This process is similar to that in women with PMT.
Stress and anxiety is associated with low serotonin levels.
The consumption of chocolate again acts to increase serotonin concentrations, and hence may serve to alleviate such symptoms  There is a strong link between the consumption of chocolate, and the relief of pre-menstrual tension in women
In the 7-10 days leading to menstruation, the levels of serotonin in the body falls.
As serotonin is dubbed ‘the happy chemical’, falls in its concentration can give rise to feelings of tension.
Chocolate consumption increases serotonin levels, due to its tryptophan content (a serotonin precursor), and hence may explain why reports have shown increased levels of chocolate cravings in premenstrual women. Consumption of chocolate:
feelings of happiness  Chocolate consumption is also linked to the release of endorphins:
These are hormones produced by the brain
They initiate a sense of well-being and promote feelings of pleasure
Therefore, consumption may act to lift overall mood, even in those of a depressive nature Reports on depressive individuals have also indicated that eating chocolate elevated mood on the same basis seen previously.
There is a connection between the level of depression exhibited, and the degree of chocolate craving, with the two directly proportional Consumption of chocolate:
feelings of happiness Conversely, this advert is aimed at men; Take this advert, aimed at women, as an example, where the company uses the slogan 'What will you gain when you lose?'; Feelings of guilt are intrinsically linked with chocolate consumption
Studies show that women are more likely than men to experience negative feelings following indulgence in a craved food, such as guilt and remorse
Men on the other hand view cravings as sparked by hunger, taking a more uncomplicated approach towards consumption
This is highlighted in the way food marketing companies target women and men differently in their advertisements; Consumption of chocolate:
feelings of guilt Biogenic amines: tyramine and phenylethylamine (PEA)
 PEA - similar to amphetamines and cathecholines, deficit may lead to depression
Alkaloid Methylxanthines: caffeine and theobromine
- stimulants; cause arousal; effect of both chemicals together?
Cannabinoid-like fatty acids: anandamine (which means ‘internal bliss’)
-  mimics effect of cannabinoid drugs (heightened sensitivity, euphoria); interact with other ingredients of chocolate to give sense of well-being; sensory properties linked to craving
Tryptophan – an essential amino acid
- needed by the brain to produce serotonin, which is a neuro-transmitter thought to give feelings of well-being and happiness Biological Effects of Chocolate Worriers have weaker immune systems!
Feeling guilty leads to fewer key antibodies when saliva was tested
High guilt levels correlated with lower levels of immunoglobulin-A
Guilt taxes the immune system which is associated with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia (joint pain and other symptoms) and heart disease
Negative emotions elevate levels of C-reactive protein which is linked to inflammation and cardiovascular disease
So feeling guilty about eating chocolate is bad for you!! Guilt Leads to a Weakened Immune System The Base Ingredient

Dark and Milk Chocolate: Cocoa Solids - The more nutritional extraction from the Cacao bean. Cocoa solids contain the pharmacological agents associated with chocolate e.g. Tryptophan

Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of pharmacological agents in comparison to Milk chocolate and consequently has a more bitter taste. Dark chocolate also contains lower sugar levels and is regarded as an antioxidant with health benefits.

White Chocolate: Cocoa Butter - A vegetable fat
extract from the Cacao bean. High in saturated fats
it contains very little or none of the pharmacological
agents found in cocoa solids. Milk, White and Dark : What’s the difference? Despite this, an experiment designed by Rozin, Levine and Stoess (1991), shows that white chocolate (despite having the same texture and sweetness as milk) only partially satisfies the craving.
This suggests that mood change is in fact related to the aroma and sensation of the milk chocolate in conjunction with the preconceptions we have due to advertisement and stigma within society. This Suggests that mood change and craving satisfaction comes from the sensation of eating chocolate! Studies show that the levels of pharmacological agents found within milk and dark chocolate are not substantial enough to cause the desired effect. Therefore milk and dark chocolate are not thought to have any more of an effect compared to white chocolate. NO Does this affect your mood?

We all feel a range of different moods everyday. This is especially true of students, where we can often go from one extreme to another. From the stress of exams to the relief of finishing off pieces of work on time.

But is mood just dependent on our feelings or are we able to modify it by eating certain foods such as chocolate? Can we relieve the stress of a hard day’s work simply by eating a single piece of chocolate?

So what can mood be defined as?
"The pervasive feeling, tone, and internal emotional state of a person that, when impaired, can markedly influence virtually all aspects of the person's behaviour or his or her perception of external events." References Journals:
Benton, D., Greenfield, K., Morgan, M., 1998. The Development of Attitudes to Chocolate Questionnaire.Person. Individ. Diff, 24(4):513-520doi:S0191-8869(97)00215-8

Bruinsma. K., Douglas, M., Taren, L., 1999. Chocolate: Food or Drug?
Journal of the American Dietetic association, 99:10

Hardwood, M., Ziegler, G., Hayes, J., 2012. Rejection Thresholds in Chocolate Milk: Evidence for Segmentation. Food Qual Pefer, 1:128-133

Keifer, I., Rathmanner. T., Kunze, M., 2005. Eating and dieting differences in men and women.
The Journal of Men's Health & Gender, 2(2):194–201

Michener, W., Rozin, P., 1994. Pharmacological Versus Sensory Factors in the Satiation of Chocolate.
Physiology and Behaviour, 56:419-422

Parker, G., Parker, I., Brotchie, H.. 2006. Mood state effects of chocolate. Journal of affective disorders, 92(2-3):149-59

Rose, N., Koperski, S., Golomb, B.A., 2010. Mood Food Chocolate and Depressive Systems in a Cross- Sectional Analysis.
Arch Intern Med 170(8):699-703

Rozin, P., Levine, E., Stoess, C., 1991. Chocolate Craving and Liking.
Appetite, 17:199-212

Seligson, F.H., Krummel, D.A., and Apgar, J.L., 1994. Patterns of Chocolate Consumption.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60:1060-1064. Websites:

All About Chocolate: Chocolate and your health; http://kkloukin.home.cern.ch/kkloukin/chocolate.htm
[January 2013]

Aphrodite Chocolate Websitehttp://www.aphrodite-chocolates.co.uk/history_chocolate.htm
[January 2012]


Chocolate History – The Story of Chocolate Website
[January 2012]

Definition of Mood
[January 2013]

Divine Chocolate Website
[January 2012]

How Caffeine Works
[January 2013]

International cocoa organisation
[January 2013]

Is Chocolate Physiologically or Psychologically Addictive?

The CNN Freedom Project Website
[January 2013]

Why do women crave chocolate?

You Should Feel Guilty: Advertising Products to Women
[04/01/13] What is Mood? Chocolate:
mood, addiction and attitudes Conclusion Chocolate has a unique place within our society.
It has been proven to be capable of altering mood, however the underlying reason is still unclear. Chocolate has pharmacological properties which were believed to have a role in mood change and cravings, although during this project, we have found the research suggests this is due to a combination of many factors, the most prominent being the aroma and sensation of eating chocolate alone. The attitudes within society toward chocolate also play a role in our enjoyment of chocolate.
The significantly higher addiction rates in women (40% compared to 15% in men) could be due to a "need" of women - either for nutrients, or for improved mood, or it could simply be that men are made to feel less guilty for consuming the snack. Overall, the mechanisms by which chocolate affects us are still largely unknown, and areas of current research.
After having looked at the research, we believe a combination of psychological and physiological factors is the most likely explanation. Does chocolate change your mood?

Food and moodhttp://www.eufic.org/article/en/health-and-lifestyle/food-choice/artid/food-mood/

‘For better health, ditch the guilt’
[January 2013]

‘From cheating golfers to MPs on the fiddle: Why men really do feel less guilt than women’
[January 2013]

‘Guilt may damage the immune system’
[January 2013]
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