Why is chocolate so irresistible - and what you can do about it

  • Chocolate is addictive in so many different ways. It contains sugar, which feeds and helps focus the brain, gives you energy, offers a sense of satisfaction (dopamine release) and facilitates the passage of serotonin into the brain. Chocolate also contains fat (traditionally only cocoa butter, but lately all sorts of other fats and oils). Fat also offers a sense of satisfaction (dopamine release).
  • Chocolate also contains PEA (phenylethylamine), the "love" molecule, which derives it's name from the chemical we produce when we are in love. Phenylethylamine is a mild amphetamine-like substance which gives us a gentle natural high.
  • High amounts of theobromine, a diuretic and mild stimulant, and low amounts of caffeine, a strong stimulant, complete the euphoria-inducing chemical profile of chocolate.
  • (Of course, cocoa also contains high amounts of polyphenols, especially epicatechins, which act as antioxidants, lower blood pressure and offer several other health-improving benefits.)
  • With so many euphoria / satisfaction / stimulation inducing substances, it is not surprise that caffeine is so addictive. So what can you practically do about it? How can you get rid off the chocolate addiction and the fat, sugar and calories that come with it?
  • Going cold turkey and never touching chocolate again is one option - albeit very drastic for most people.
  • Having 70% dark chocolate (or even 85%), is one option, so that you can have the maximum antioxidants / phytochemicals contained in cocoa with the minimum of sugar / calories. However, this still leaves you with 30% sugar (or 15% sugar, in the case of 85% dark chocolate).
  • (Of course, having chocolate desserts, such as chocolate biscuits, muffins, cake etc, is not the best thing you can do to your legs, with all the extra fat, sugar and starch contained in them and taking the place of cocoa antioxidants and phytochemicals.)
  • Having a cocoa drink, with cocoa, stevia and whey protein, is supposed to be another healthy option, but it is not as healthy as it sounds. Both stevia and whey protein strongly stimulate the secretion of insulin, which is not the best thing you can do to your body. If you use rice protein instead of whey protein, you will somewhat reduce the insulin effect but the taste will be quite off - nothing to remind you of your beloved chocolate...
  • Being a chocolate addict myself, I believe that the best thing you can do about chocolate is to enjoy it's taste - and benefit from all it's antioxidants - without suffering from the side effects of fat and sugar. Is this possible? Of course it is!
  • How to enjoy chocolate - or any other dessert - without putting on fat or getting cellulite