Chocolate's 'nice but naughty' nature gets people hooked

Washington, Sep 11 : A new study has found that it's the 'nice but naughty' nature of chocolates that makes us readily admit to being 'addicted' to the sweet.

Our affinity for chocolate goes beyond what most would call normal and that's what the study has tried to expose i.e. why do we willingly label ourselves as 'chocoholics'.

Researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, have found that it's the 'nice but naughty' nature of chocolate that leads to craving and thus is recognised as 'addiction.'

Previous studies have suggested that chocolate contains mood-enhancing (psychoactive) ingredients that give it special appeal. Evidence and logic, however, find little support for this.

Substances present in chocolate, such as serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyramine and cannabinoids also exist in higher concentrations in other foods with less appeal than chocolate.

The current study, however, has a different take. The researchers say that our submission to chocolate lies in our ambivalent attitudes towards the sweet.

"A more compelling explanation lies in our ambivalent attitudes towards chocolate - it is highly desired but should be eaten with restraint (nice but naughty). Our unfulfilled desire to eat chocolate, resulting from restraint, is thus experienced as craving, which in turn is attributed to 'addiction'" Professor Peter Rogers, of University of Bristol, said.

A further observation is that the most widely preferred chocolate is milk chocolate and chocolate-covered confectionery. These contain a lower amount of cocoa solids, and therefore a lower concentration of potentially psychoactive compounds, than 'dark' chocolate which is not so widely craved.

It is therefore far more plausible to suggest that a liking for chocolate, and its effects on mood, are due mainly to its principal constituents, sugar and fat, and their related orosensory and nutritional effects.(With Inputs from ANI)