Have you ever wondered why you can’t ever fully satisfy your insatiable craving for chocolate, or that the thought of leaving the last truffle in the box is haunting you every time you pass the kitchen? Well, you can finally stop beating yourself up about it… it’s not your will power that’s to blame, it’s your brain. In a new study conducted by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, researchers may have finally discovered that chocolate is in fact a highly addictive drug, bringing new meaning to the term chocoholic.
So why are these delicious delights so irresistible? According to the research, chocolate candies activate neurotransmitters in our brains that drive drug addiction and binge eating. The urge to overeat sweet and fatty treats, like chocolate, traces to an unexpected part of the brain, which creates the production of a natural, opium-like chemical. In the study, led by Alexandra DiFeliceantonio, scientists injected rats with a drug boost directly to the neostriatum region of the brain, resulting in the rats eating more than two times the amount of M&Ms than they would have otherwise.
In an interview with Science Daily, DiFeliceantonio explains, “This means that the brain has more extensive systems to make individuals want to overconsume rewards than previously thought. It may be one reason why overconsumption is a problem today.” She goes on to say that “The same brain area we tested here, is active when obese people see foods and when drug addicts see drug scenes.”
The good news is that the drugs didn’t make the rats like the chocolate more, but rather the brain chemicals increased their desire and impulse to eat them. So, in a nutshell… if you don’t dig chocolate now, you are in the clear. But, if you do… well, we’ll see you in chocolate rehab!