Can chocalate craving actually be an addiction? Food is generally craved due to external prompts in our immediate environment, including media, and our emotional state. Boredom, anxiety or depression are conducive states before these cravings occur. Chocalate is the most frequently craved food in woman and "chocoholics" insist that it is habit-forming and produces an instant feeling of well being. It even produces withdrawal symptoms during periods of abstinence.
When eating chocalate, serotonin is released making us feel happier. These cravings commonly occur in seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pre-menstrual disorder. The sugar and fat components are also likely to contribute to the soothing and calming effects. The sugar, mild stimulant constituents. (Theobromine, a relative of caffeine, Phenyethylamine, a relative of Amphetamines) and even trace cannaboid-related natural substances(Anadamide) suggests why it could be addictive. In fact, sugar alone activates the same reward pathways in the brain involved with drug, alcohol and nicotine addictions. Chocolate do have health benefits as well, partly from the antioxidants it naturally contains. Nutrients include potassium and magnesium, some calcium and sodium and vitamins A1, B1, B2, D and E. Chocalate consumption could even improve thinking and reaction time speed probably explaining the supposed (legal) addiction.
This craving also occurs on a monthly cycle, which would suggest a hormonal basis. Chocalate contains several biologically active ingredients that is reponsible for abnormal behaviours and psychological sensations like those of other addictive substances. This results in increased salivation in the presence of chocalate and cases of more negative moods and anxiety. Although not a true addiction the combination of the appealing characteristics of chocalate such as sweetness, texture and aroma, together with hormonal and mood swings, largely explains these chocalate cravings.
The addiction could also be a lifestyle phenomenon instead of a physical one with the relentless media changes.