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Self-proclaimed “Chocoholics” May Have a Legitimate Addiction

February 27, 2013 — Dr. Jennifer Nasser and her research team’s 2011 Drexel candy study found that “multiple characteristics of chocolate, including sugar, cocoa and the drug-like effects experienced, play a role in the desire to consume chocolate.” The research study was cited as evidence in an article about chocoholism published on Valentine’s Day, a holiday often associated with heart-shaped boxes filled with the sweet stuff.

Author Dr. Michael Craig Miller, Senior Editor of Mental Health Publishing at Harvard Health Publications, says that the three “essential components of addiction,” which include “intense craving, loss of control over the object of that craving, and a continued use or engagement despite bad consequences” are definitely present in some relationships that we have with our food. This is because foods- especially those that contain a lot of fat and sugar, like chocolate- trigger a reward circuit in the brain that makes us feel good when we indulge. This chemical reaction can also produce a withdrawal-like response when we cut ourselves off. So you thought all of those self-proclaimed “chocoholics” were just cracking jokes about their cravings? Think again! It’s possible that some may have a valid addiction to chocolate.

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