October 19, 2008

Mood state effects of chocolate

emotions, meds — alice @ 2:31 am Print This Post  AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Gordon Parker, Isabella Parker and Heather Brotchie
Article in Journal of Affective Disorders

Abstract:
Background: Chocolate consumption has long been associated with enjoyment and pleasure. Popular claims confer on chocolate the properties of being a stimulant, relaxant, euphoriant, aphrodisiac, tonic and antidepressant. The last claim stimulated this review.

Method: We review chocolate’s properties and the principal hypotheses addressing its claimed mood altering propensities. We distinguish between food craving and emotional eating, consider their psycho-physiological underpinnings, and examine the likely ‘positioning’ of any effect of chocolate to each concept.

Results: Chocolate can provide its own hedonistic reward by satisfying cravings but, when consumed as a comfort eating or emotional eating strategy, is more likely to be associated with prolongation rather than cessation of a dysphoric mood.

Limitations: This review focuses primarily on clarifying the possibility that, for some people, chocolate consumption may act as an antidepressant self-medication strategy and the processes by which this may occur.

Conclusions: Any mood benefits of chocolate consumption are ephemeral.

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