Introduction – by Jeremy Sherr

My decision to prove chocolate was based on clinical experience. Patients often reported adverse effects from eating chocolate, sometimes resulting in severe symptoms. The number of patients who were seriously addicted to chocolate was always impressive. It seemed that the desire for chocolate exceeded any other category of food craving.

Chocolate has become a major feature of late 20th century culture. It is amazing to see the number of outlets where chocolate can be purchased. Every shop or garage carries a supply, where Chocolate is often bought as a ‘comforting treat’ alongside other purchases. Gourmands search for excellence, forming chocolate sub-cultures. There is a proliferation of Chocolate books, magazine articles, courses and clubs.

It seems that the chocolate addiction is not so much a physical but rather an emotional phenomenon. Chocolate is often used as a substitute for love, an idea exploited by the emphasis on romantic themes in chocolate advertisements. In patients the desire often arose at times of emotional stress especially regarding relationships. Research has shown a connection between chocolate and enzymes produced when people fall in love.

Another theme that seemed to emerge was the affinity between Chocolate and the circulatory and hormonal systems. The need for Chocolate often appeared during or before the menses. Chocolate is known to contain many substances that affect the heart. It has been reported to cause heart failure in animals. Blood and heart relate to love, sharing the function of supplying warmth and nourishment, thereby supporting the idea of chocolate as a ‘love food”