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Essay on The Chemical and Psychological Effects of Chocolate

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In 2013, about 7.4 million tons of chocolate is expected to be consumed globally, totaling to nearly $110 billion (Pardomuan, Nicholson). I can honestly say that I will be one of the many people who contribute immensely to those massive quantities. Chocolate has always been one of my guilty pleasures, leading me to consider myself a “chocoholic.” After 20 years of eating chocolate, I learned there is more to chocolate than meets the eye. Many chemicals compose each delicious piece creating multiple psychological effects on the mind. With the knowledge of the chemical and psychological influences that chocolate has on the human mind and body and my own curiosity as to why I love it so much, this led me to ask: Why is chocolate considered such a pleasurable and craveable food?
Before looking into the chemical and psychological effects of chocolate, it is important to go back in time and see where chocolate originated. Even from the very beginning chocolate was viewed as a powerful food. The idea of chocolate first began in 1500 BC when the Pre-Olmecs and Mokaya peoples found that the beans that grew on the cacao trees could be used as food (Semenak, "Chocolate in History"). Moving forward to 600, the Mayan and Aztec civilizations used the chocolate beans in a more meaningful way. The Mayans created a drink from the beans and drank it during weddings and other important ceremonies. Only those of the highest class could indulge in what the Mayans referred to as the “God Food” ("Food: The History of Chocolate"). Similarly, the Aztecs created a drink out of the cacao beans, and according to Susan Semenak’s 2012 newspaper article, “Chocolate in History,” the Aztecs used it as a “love potion.” Pretty soon, the beans became so c...


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...y treat to indulge in, it seems to have positive effects on the mind and body. This just makes me wonder how chocolate will be viewed hundreds of years from now and if it could possibly become even more pleasurable.



Works Cited

"Food: The History of Chocolate." Birmingham Post 11 Dec. 2004, First ed., Features sec.: 46. Print

Pardomuan, Lewa, and Marcy Nicholson. "Craving for a Chocolate Fix? Prepare to Pay More." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2013.

Scott-Thomas, Caroline. "Chocolate Shape Affects Flavour Perception: Study." Foodnavigator.com. N.p., 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2013.

Semenak, Susan. "Chocolate in History." The Gazette [Montreal] 11 Feb. 2012, Final ed., Weekend Life sec.: H4. Print.

Slaughter, Gwen. "Is Chocolate Physiologically or Psychologically Addictive?" Serendip. Bryn Mawr University, 2001. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.




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