• Question: What ingredient is it in chocolate that makes it so addictive?

    Asked by caragh26 to Meeks, Stephen, Tom on 25 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      Hi caragh26

      A lot of people think that chocolate is addictive (and indeed, sometimes I wonder if my youngest daughter is – she likes it a lot!). But I’ve not come across any evidence that chocolate really is addictive. Not in the same way that cigarettes, drugs or alcohol are.

      Plus, I have never heard of anyone being ‘treated’ for chocolate addition – so I think that the craving is less intense that the craving that smokers get.

      Chocolate is advertised heavily in the UK and very popular. Everyone likes it – I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. However, we all know that we probably shouldn’t eat too much and maybe we try to stop ourselves eating it? But if we can’t stop thinking about it, we may get cravings that seem like an addiction.

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      Hi Caragh mmmmm chocolate, even just typing about it makes me fancy some! I am completely addicted to Kit Kat chunky caramels, yum. Chocolate has caffeine in it which is addictive, and it can also cause endorphins to be released which make you feel good – yum!

    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 25 Jun 2010:

      The European Food Information Council believe that chocolate is delicious but now more addictive than other foods.


      For what it’s worth I sometimes have a strong compulsion to eat Fish and Chips (which I eat nearly every Friday), but I never feel that way about chocolate even though I love the taste at least as much. It’s very speculative, but I wonder whether there might be different mechanisms for different types of food compulsion. Once I visited Whitby with some friends. They wanted a cup of tea and suggested we go to the Magpie Cafe which is the where you get the best fish and chips in the world (scientific fact). I think there was some suggestion we might have a quick cuppa and leave. That would have been physically impossible for me, and luckily common sense prevailed. 🙂