The Truth About Chocoholics
Posted by Kate W on Friday, July 13th, 2012
I used to get annoyed when I met someone who would refer to themselves as a chocoholic. I have friends and family members who have struggled with addiction and it seemed flippant to me. Of course, I’m not hugely into chocolate; I enjoy it in small doses, but I rarely crave it and often find it overwhelming. But then I met my husband and I realized that there are some people in the world who may actually need chocolate in order to function.
My husband does actually seem to need a little bit of chocolate each day; not for his survival necessarily, but for my sanity. He’s had countless blood workups because of his lupus, and he’s never shown any signs of hypoglycemia or blood sugar issues. But if he goes too long between meals, he turns into Mr. Crankypants. It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde situation, only with less murder and more whining. After we’d been together a few years, I began keeping snacks in my purse for him. Pretzels or crackers or fruit would definitely take the edge off and make him more bearable to be around, but they don’t fully restore his typically sunny self. I discovered one day that presenting him with a candy bar could give him a complete personality makeover, even when he was at his crabbiest.
Dark chocolate has long been considered to have some health benefits in moderation. It is loaded with flavonoids (often found in dark green leafy vegetables) which serve as antioxidants and help prevent the body from aging. Flavonoids also can relax high blood pressure and balance certain hormones. Dark chocolate can also lower cholesterol, and because of its positive effect on blood pressure, it keeps the cardiovascular system running smoothly; thus, it a little bit each day is recommended to boost heart health. Beyond these physical benefits, I have learned that chocolate can also have a positive impact on mood. It contains stimulant substances, including caffeine. It stimulates endorphin production, which imparts a feeling of pleasure. It even contains serotonin, which functions as an antidepressant.
I doubt the instant mood revision my husband experiences in the face of chocolate is purely physical; even the fastest metabolism in the world couldn’t boost his serotonin that fast. And I have my serious doubts that he is an actual chocoholic. I think he’s just a sugar addict. But perhaps chocoholism does exist in a way; I certainly rely on chocolate enough as a tool to keep him happy that I doubt I could function without it now. We may need to move to a cocoa farm just to keep up with his habit.
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