Mood modulation by food: an exploration of affect
and cravings in 'chocolate addicts'

Macdiarmid JI, Hetherington MM.
Psychology Department,
University of Dundee, UK.
Br J Clin Psychol. 1995 Feb;34 ( Pt 1):129-38


To test the hypothesis that some foods are eaten to alter mood, the relationship between mood and intake of chocolate was investigated in 40 women. Twenty self-identified chocolate 'addicts' and 20 controls rated hunger, mood, intensity of craving and amount of chocolate eaten in a diary for seven consecutive days. The 'addicts' reported a significantly greater number of eating episodes and consumed a larger amount of chocolate than controls. 'Addicts' also rated depression, guilt and craving higher and feeling content and relaxed as lower before eating than controls. However, eating chocolate resulted in increased feelings of guilt in the 'addicts' and no significant changes in feeling depressed or relaxed. On indices of disordered eating and depression, 'addicts' scored significantly higher than controls; however, eating chocolate did not improve mood. Although chocolate is a food which provides pleasure, for those who consider intake of this food to be excessive, any pleasure experienced is short lived and accompanied by feelings of guilt.

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