Why Do We Crave Chocolate?
Why We Crave Chocolate – The Complex Mystery of Chocolate Cravings
Chocolate cravings date back thousands of years. Ancient civilizations in Latin America appreciated the cacao bean and its rich flavors as well as its sensual pleasure. It was even used as a currency in those days, which meant only the wealthiest could afford to eat chocolate as a delicacy. Certainly, other unique and wonderful foods were around at the time. So, it is rather interesting that chocolate, or cacao, was recognized even then as a prized possession.
Given that chocolate cravings have existed for many centuries, it’s only natural to ask what makes chocolate so incredibly irresistible. Is it some hidden chemical concoction inherent to the cacao bean? Does chocolate provide us with some unappreciated health advantage? Or is it simply chocolate’s indulgent taste? In a word, yes! And in fact, these and other reasons help explain just why chocolate cravings are so powerful.
“Biochemically, love is just like eating large amounts of chocolate.” - John Milton
The Chemistry Behind Our Chocolate Cravings
Believe it or not, several researchers have actually sought to discover the root cause of our chocolate cravings. One researcher even broke down chocolate into its various components and asked people how well each component satisfied their chocolate cravings. And guess what? Those who enjoyed the full chocolate experience were the ones whose cravings were satisfied the most! In other words, there wasn’t any single part of chocolate that explained its appeal.
Despite this, chocolate does have some chemistry behind it that helps explain why it’s so desirable. For one, chocolate contains theobromine as well as caffeine, which help boost energy levels. Likewise, chocolate increases serotonin levels in the brain, which enhances our mood and alleviates stress. And chocolate has health-promoting nutrients like magnesium and antioxidants that are naturally good for us. But none of these alone fully explain our chocolate cravings.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz
The Love Connection with Chocolate Cravings
While the chemistry inherent to chocolate plays a part in stimulating our chocolate cravings, other types of chemistry also plays a role. For one, we often associate chocolate with love. After all, Valentine’s Day completely embraces the notion that chocolate and love go together. And if chocolate means love, and love leads to additional pleasures, social experiences teaches us that chocolate is something we should desire.
But these social associations between chocolate and love go beyond pleasant feelings. Within our brains, whenever we experience something pleasant, dopamine is released. Dopamine is a pretty powerful chemical and stimulates many areas of the brain in the process. It stimulates our memory to ensure we remember how incredible our chocolate experience was. It also stimulates the frontal part of our brains that helps us make future decisions about what to eat. And dopamine helps ensure we as human beings survive. Thus, if chocolate leads to love and companionship, you can bet dopamine is going to reinforce this delicacy for the sake of the human race. You probably had no idea that chocolate was so important!
“The way to a woman’s heart is through truth and trust. Well, all except mine. Mine is through chocolate.” - Taylor E. Bennet
The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Chocolate’s Parts
Chocolate’s stimulating properties do contribute to our chocolate cravings. Likewise, dopamine reinforces these pleasant experiences within our brains. But to understand why we have such strong chocolate cravings, you must appreciate the entire experience that a perfect piece of chocolate offers. Its delicious flavor, its aromatic appeal, and the feel of a velvety smooth piece of chocolate in your mouth all contribute to this experience. One reinforces the other, and none in isolation has the same effect as they all have together.
At the Honduras Chocolate Company, we understand exactly what drives our chocolate cravings. From our perspective, we believe chocolate provides the perfect multi-sensory experience, engaging all of our senses in the process. And each one of these effects is absolutely tantalizingly delightful. Indeed, scientists have tried to break down exactly what it is about chocolate that stimulates these cravings. But in the end, it’s all of the above. Chocolate in its purest form might just be the perfect food ever created.
With this in mind, Honduras Chocolate Company makes its chocolates the way they should be made…organically and naturally. Everything we do honors and respect the cacao plant and bean from start to finish. This even is apparent in how we embrace the Honduran culture and support Honduran cacao farmers who have carried this tradition down for centuries. If you truly want to satisfy your chocolate craving, try one of our exquisite chocolates for yourself. It will be an experience that you truly won’t forget.