Breaking the Food Seduction, Chapter 3
Monday, November 26, 2018
Chapter 3: Give Me Chocolate or Give Me Death: The Chocolate Seduction
Chocolate targets the same area of the brain as heroin or morphine, but it does not have as strong of an effect.
The chemical effect goes beyond the opiate effect, chocolate also contains:
2.) Theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, but has a milder effect. This is poisonous to dogs, which is why we ought not let our dogs eat chocolate.
3.) Phenlethylamin, PEA, an amphetamine-like chemical that harbors traces of compounds similar to THC
In summary, chocolate has traces of mild opiate, caffeine, amphetamine-like components, and is equivalent to a whiff of marijuana.
But Does it Make You Happy?
What is Chocolate Really? It comes from the beans of the cacoa tree. It is thought that the Aztec took these beans and made a drink called ‘chocolatl”, meaning warm liquid. It is said that Columbus had taken these beans back to Europe, but the people did not care for it because it was too bitter. Only when vanilla and cinnamon were added did the drink become popular.
It was not until the mid-nineteenth century when it was discovered that if the cocoa butter was extracted from the beans, what was left was a powder. This powder is often used in baking. But, most important for our addiction, if they added extra cocoa butter to the beans, it would produce a creamy chocolate that is used to make candies.
Today, chocolate is produced by taking the cacao pods, cracking them open to get the beans, which are then fermented, dried, roasted, and crushed to produce chocolate liquor. It is from this cocoa liquor that the cocoa butter can be extracted.
Is it Good to Break the Chocolate Habit?
An occasion chocolate bar shouldn’t have too much of an effect on you in terms of addiction or as the cause of weight gain. However, it is important to keep in mind that a candy bar can have a 50/50 ratio of fat and sugar.
Chocolate is known as a migraine trigger and in some, it can have a negative impact on the mood and cause irritability.
I found this interesting since I had a positive mood enhancement one time that I associate with chocolate. It was years ago, when my daughters were in the traumatic teen stage, and I got into an argument with the youngest (about what, who knows?), and it left me in a bad mood, a really bad mood. I was getting ready to leave to go for my weekly hike with my sister. I had to drive 1/2 hour to meet with her. I could not shake that angry mood. So, when I met with my sister, I said, “I need some chocolate.” At the time, there was a chocolatier shop in town that sold imported chocolate from Belguim, you know the good stuff.
I bought 2 chocolate covered cherries and savored each one. I actually felt something happen in my brain and BAAM! My mood instantly changed and I felt like I was on top of the world. It was the weirdest thing I ever had happen to me. It only happened one time, I never again felt it.
Did it make me happy? I say yes, it made me happy.
The Chocolate Pushers
The Chocolate Industry has joined the Sugar Association for the dietary guidelines. There are 9 members: Hersheys, M&M/Mars, Nestle, plus others, but apparently they are not as powerful as the meat and dairy industry because chocolate has not become a separate food group that is listed in the guidelines.
There is a dark side of chocolate in that it appears there may be slave-like conditions in West Africa in order to harvest the beans. Here is a link describing that and if you look on youtube you should be able to find a documentary on the Dark Side of Chocolate.
Finding the Right Mixture
The industry is focused on finding the right mixture to get you coming back for more. It has been found that some prefer a sweeter taste, others like a higher fat content. Then there is that low-fat craze and so the industry has created candy bars such as Three Musketeers, which has a lower fat content but much higher sugar content. Twix and Peanut M&M have the higher fat that sugar content. For those with the in-between tastes there are Milky Way and Snickers. Oh yeah! Something for everyone!!