People will tell you different reasons why they love chocolate so much. They will say it is because of its exquisite taste. Or that it adds a small piece of luxury to an otherwise dull day. Or perhaps they enjoy the sensory delight of chocolate melting in their mouth. Or perhaps they are simply addicted. Read on and learn more about what it is that makes people love chocolate.
One thing that is not disputable is that the popularity of chocolate is increasing. Since the 1980’s Americans have been adding on an average 2 pounds of chocolate per capita a year to their diet. One of the explanations scientists have come up with for our overwhelming fondness for chocolate is the fact that we are hardwired to enjoy sweet foods. It’s in our DNA make up. A matter of evolution, they will tell you. Combine this with a shift in cultural attitudes in what constitutes “good food” and you have a recipe for chocolates booming popularity. But this a part of the picture.
Humans love chocolate for other reasons that perhaps go beyond mere evolutionary instinct. Chocolate is a sensory delight. The first sweet taste as it touches the taste buds. Combined with the way chocolate melts in the mouth. Chocolate delights not just the taste but there is a visual element to chocolates appeal that should not be underestimated. When we think of chocolate we imagine a delightful liquid chocolate. Think of a hot chocolate drink. Or perhaps the chocolate rivers of Willy Wonka’s factory.
When chocolate was first introduced to Victorian England it was seen as a luxury item. For a diet that was stripped of sweet treats, that first taste of chocolate must have seemed a rare delight indeed. Chocolate went through a period of mass commoditization and lost a little of it’s glamour. But chocolate as a luxury item is back on the upswing. Consumers view chocolate as a luxury item akin to a bottle of wine. Chocolate is also a highly acceptable substance. With none of the bad connotations of the heavy drinker or smoker.
Chocolate does not only taste great but it also makes us happy. Perhaps this more than anything explains the enduring popularity of chocolate. People have an inbuilt desire to be happy. Chocolate has been shown to release Serotonin in the brain. This chemical literally makes the person happy. Unfortunately chocolate may not be able to be viewed as simply a delicious wonder drug. It also releases dopamine which causes reinforcement of behaviour in the brain. This is similar to what happens with alcoholics. So if you think that you are addicted to chocolate, the fact is you might be right.
Such speculation that chocolate is addictive should be taken with a pinch of salt (or perhaps a bar of chocolate). The reason people feel addicted to chocolate is probably more to do with the fact that is tastes so good. As long as chocolate is eaten in moderation and combined with a healthy balanced diet it can be enjoyed as a harmless treat. Life is to be enjoyed and a small bar of chocolate can brighten a day like no other food can.