Psychoactive effects of tasting chocolate and desire for more chocolate

Physiol Behav. 2011 Jul 25;104(1):117-21. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.04.040. Epub 2011 May 1.


The purpose of this study was to characterize the psychoactive effects of tasting chocolate and to evaluate the contribution of the main chocolate components to the desire to consume more of it. A total of 280 participants, (F-155; M=125) ranging in age from 18-65, completed the study. Participants were randomly assigned to taste 12.5 g of either white chocolate ("control") or one of four chocolate ("cocoa") samples varying in sugar, fat and percent cocoa content, then answered the question: "Do you want more of this chocolate?" and "If yes, how many more pieces of this chocolate would you like to eat?" They completed pre- and post-consumption surveys, consisting of 30 questions derived from the Addiction Research Center Inventory (ARCI) subscales, Morphine-Benzedrine Group (MBG), Morphine (M) and Excitement (E). Significant decreases in post-pre consumption changes in MBG subscale were observed between the control sample and the 70% cocoa (p=0.046) or the 85% cocoa sample (p=0.0194). Proportionally more men than women wanted more of the tasted chocolate (p=0.035). Participants were more likely to want more of the tasted chocolate if they displayed a greater change in the MBG scale, and if their chocolate sample had high sugar and cocoa content, as assessed by multiple logistic regression. Our results suggest that multiple characteristics of chocolate, including sugar, cocoa and the drug-like effects experienced, play a role in the desire to consume chocolate.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cacao*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste / physiology