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157731.  Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:31 am Reply with quote

If you’re depressed, what should you eat cheer yourself up?

Forfeit: Chocolate

Correct answers to follow.

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders last year which claimed to be the most comprehensive literature review on how chocolate affects mood came to the conclusion that for clinically depressed or stressed people, the chocolate high is short-lived and may even deepen the downer.

Chocolate eaters can be put into two categores: cravers who eat for pleasure – their dopamine system is stimulated by chocolate and for them it is a pleasurable experience; and emotional eaters, whose bid to alleviate depression is sadly in vain. For the emotional eaters, there is a slight improvement often followed by a worsening of their earlier negative state.


“You'd have to eat a truck load of chocolate before you have had the equivalent of one antidepressant tablet.

"Our review rejects any possibility that chocolate desired as a way of relieving stress or when feeling down has any antidepressant benefit."


157763.  Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:34 am Reply with quote

Chocolate eaters can be put into two categores

Or they could be put into a third category: people who just eat it because they fucking like it! Which category would contain 99.9% of everyone who has ever eaten any chocolate ever anywhere.

This obsession of this decade - the medicalisation of every tiny aspect of human existence - is a dreadful thing. (Good question, though, egg; a very worthwhile debunking.)

157852.  Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:46 am Reply with quote

I would say 49% of everyone who has ever eaten any chocolate ever anywhere. In my experience, all women like to eat chocolate when they're fed up.

Or maybe that's just an effect that I have on women.

157916.  Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:28 am Reply with quote

Knowing as I do the extent to which many women crave chocolate just before a period, I googled for it, and found some good stuff on this page, which seems to be well referenced.

Anandamide, chocolate and PMT

There is a theory floating about that chocolate cravings could be related to the presence of anandamide in cocoa. Anandamide is a cannabinoid (looks a bit like THC).

Now I'm assuming that the body is familiar with chocolate as a source of anandamide, but cannabis would be a much better source... would that mean that a person who's tried cannabis would crave it instead of chocolate at that particular time in their cycle?

Followed by:


Chocolate: food or drug?
Bruinsma K, Taren DL
Arizona Prevention Center,
University of Arizona,
College of Medicine,
Tucson 85719, USA.
J Am Diet Assoc 1999 Oct; 99(10):1249-56

Although addictive behavior is generally associated with drug and alcohol abuse or compulsive sexual activity, chocolate may evoke similar psychopharmacologic and behavioral reactions in susceptible persons. A review of the literature on chocolate cravings indicates that the hedonic appeal of chocolate (fat, sugar, texture, and aroma) is likely to be a predominant factor in such cravings. Other characteristics of chocolate, however, may be equally as important contributors to the phenomena of chocolate cravings. Chocolate may be used by some as a form of self-medication for dietary deficiencies (eg, magnesium) or to balance low levels of neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of mood, food intake, and compulsive behaviors (eg, serotonin and dopamine). Chocolate cravings are often episodic and fluctuate with hormonal changes just before and during the menses, which suggests a hormonal link and confirms the assumed gender-specific nature of chocolate cravings. Chocolate contains several biologically active constituents (methylxanthines, biogenic amines, and cannabinoid-like fatty acids), all of which potentially cause abnormal behaviors and psychological sensations that parallel those of other addictive substances. Most likely, a combination of chocolate's sensory characteristics, nutrient composition, and psychoactive ingredients, compounded with monthly hormonal fluctuations and mood swings among women, will ultimately form the model of chocolate cravings. Dietetics professionals must be aware that chocolate cravings are real. The psychopharmacologic and chemosensory effects of chocolate must be considered when formulating recommendations for overall healthful eating and for treatment of nutritionally related health issues.

All of this is from ProQuest.

Trick or treat from food endocannabinoids?
Nature Dec 17, 1998; Di Marzo, Vincenzo; Sepe, Nunzio; De Petrocellis, Luciano;
The endocannabinoid content of various foods was evaluated. The discovery of anandamide and other N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) in chocolate led to the speculation that the supposed rewarding affects of cocoa are caused by the presence of substances that act as cannabinoid mimics. NAEs and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) were purified from various foods including mature human, bovine, and goat milk and cocoa at different stages of processing. The amounts of anandamide, 2-AG, and the sleep-inducing compound oleamide were several orders of magnitude lower that those required to cause observable central effects if given by mouth. A reply by Beltramo and Piomelli, who were among the first discoverers of possible cannabinoid mimics in chocolate, is published.

Chocolate: the wonder drug
The Sciences; Jul/Aug 1997; Michener, Willa;
In response to Christine Chianese's March/April report on the discovery of anandamide and 2 of its chemical analogues in chocolate, the writer discusses the role of anandamide deficiency in premenstrual syndrome and perimenstrual epilepsy. Anandamide occurs naturally in the brain where it binds to some of the same receptors as tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient of marijuana. The writer proposes that women who crave chocolate in the perimenstruum--the days just before and after the start of menses--may experience anandamide deficiency or enhanced anandamide-receptor sensitivity during the perimenstruum. Furthermore, anandamide deficiency could explain perimenstrual anxiety and the increased incidence of epilepsy, arthritis, and asthma among some women during this time.

Maybe all a bit too speculative?


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