Friday, April 21, 2006

Chocoholism.

Two days ago we posted something about drugs (opium), yesterday it was about chocolate, well, what about this one: is chocolate a drug?
It is officially a weak stimulant - it has been defined as something more than a food and less than a drug. Did you know that it it so stimulant for dogs and horses that its use is therefore banned in horse-racing? (see details on Wikipedia).
In fact, eating choclate triggers dopamine release in the brain's reinforcement systems which is actually similar to the effect of... opium (but legal and not as strong). It has been linked with the release of serotonin in the brain, which is thought to produce feelings of pleasure (and it is a mild sexual stimulant!).
Here we go. Chocolate is a drug! I knew it - to the point that heroin addicts tend to have an increased liking for chocolate. (Besides chocolate also contains quite a bit vof caffeine, though less than tea or coffee).
It has also been said that the liking of chocolate is linked to the fact that its melting point is slightly below human body temperature; it melts in the mouth.
And yes, chocoholism is a word, although some linguits prefer 'chocolatic' to 'chocoholic', the former is the one that has caught. Interestingly, I do not think the French have a word like it, even though they have better chocolate. That's probably because the United-States is the land of excess par excellence but I have yet to hear about CA (Chocoholics Anymous)!

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