"Chocolate addiction": a preliminary study of its description
and its relationship to problem eating

Hetherington MM, MacDiarmid JI
Department of Psychology,
University of Dundee,
Appetite 1993 Dec; 21(3):233-46


Definitions of chocolate addiction and its potential relationship to dieting and problem eating were investigated in 50 individuals who identified themselves as "chocoholics". Respondents were interviewed and completed a battery of questionnaires on food cravings, eating, weight, dieting and depression. On average this sample consumed about 12 (60-g) bars of chocolate per week and craved chocolate about six times per week. Cravings and amount consumed were not significantly related but amount consumed was significantly correlated with disinhibition (r = 0.3). Most (76%) respondents had definitions of chocolate addiction that centred on a lack of control around chocolate and regarded the "addictive" factor in chocolate as orosensory (i.e. taste, smell, texture). Unlike most others, dieters and secret eaters experienced negative affect following consumption of chocolate. Consumers who preferred to eat in secret reported a higher degree of aberrant eating. The extent to which the behaviour of "chocolate addicts" resembles that of eating disordered individuals and other addictions remains to be clarified.

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