Chocoholism

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Are you a chocoholic? Is chocolate good for you? And is chocolate addictive? It’s possible you’ve answered a resounding yes to all three.

To look first of all at its addictiveness, here’s a study from the University of London’s Division of Mental Health. Researchers randomly split 116 females into three groups. One group was asked to distract themselves from any thoughts they might have about wanting chocolate. A second group were encouraged to think about chocolate, and the third were left to think about anything at all.

Following this, all three groups were invited to test two brands of chocolate. They were unaware that what was being evaluated was not their opinion of which one was better, but how much they ate. I wonder if you can guess which group ate ‘significantly more chocolate’ during the tasting? It was the first group; those who had been asked to distract themselves from any desire.

This is not the first time this sort of result has appeared in connection with attempts to avoid desire for addictive substances. It clearly shows there’s something very different about addictive desire; that it’s no ordinary thought, although it may often appear to be.

As for it being good for you, “multiple studies have found that chocolate can have positive health effects” and here are details of just three:

  • The University of Adelaide conducted a meta-analysis of every study they could find from the past 54 years and concluded that dark chocolate is effective in reducing blood pressure.
  • Another meta-analysis, this time from Harvard University, showed that dark chocolate has beneficial effects on cholesterol.
  • A study from Switzerland showed that dark chocolate ‘induced a rapid and significant improvement’ in markers for cardiovascular risk.

 

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