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J Affect Disord. 2006 Jun;92(2-3):149-59. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Mood state effects of chocolate.

Author information

1
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia. g.parker@unsw.edu.au

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.

PMID:
16546266
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2006.02.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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