Addicted to chocolate and don't know how to beat it? A new study suggests the first thing you need to do is learn to acknowledge and accept the craving.
"If you stop fighting and ... accept something it loses its influence and power over your life," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted psychologist and CSIRO researcher Robyn Vast, as saying.
To test what drives our addiction to chocolate, Vast recruited 110 volunteers in Adelaide and divided them into three groups. Each group was given a bag of chocolate to carry around for a week, with the aim of resisting the goodies in the bag.
The first group was given no intervention, and 43 percent totally resisted chocolate. The second group was taught how to control cravings, with 56 percent able to abstain from eating chocolate over the seven-day period. The third group was encouraged to acknowledge and accept temptation when it arose.
"The third group was taught an acceptance-based approach with 81 per cent eating no chocolate at all," said Vast.
Vast said cravings are a little bit like an itch; they seemingly come from nowhere and demand our full attention when they occur.
"What I found was that if people accept craving for chocolate as human behaviour, just something that happens to them, then you take the fight out of it. It takes the pressure off," she said.
Also speaking at the seminar, Haigh chief chocolate taster Brendan Somerville explored another reason why we find chocolate so hard to resist: it simply tastes good.
"Flavour depends on where the cocoa has been grown, and whether it's been imported as a bean or in pre-made blocks," he said.
The findings were detailed at a RiAus seminar called Gluttony: The Lure of Chocolate.