About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Check Out the Goodness Hidden Behind Chocolate Chemistry
Advertisement

Check Out the Goodness Hidden Behind Chocolate Chemistry

Font : A-A+

Highlights:
  • Chocolates may offer a bundle of health benefits
  • Natural chemical compounds such as theobromine and phenethylamine hidden inside chocolates can boost your mood as well as health
  • Whether you eat milk, white or dark chocolates take some time to look at the hidden chemistry behind this sweet treat

Chocoholics, rejoice! Eating some chocolates every day is good for your health. Digging deeper into the hidden chemistry behind milk, white or dark chocolates can help you understand the goodness of this sweet treat.

Chocolate is a Valentine's Day must-have and popular among people with a sweet tooth. Many also claim it lifts mood or even acts as an aphrodisiac, and we've all heard someone say it's habit forming.

Advertisement


The compounds in chocolate that allegedly have positive effects come from the cacao bean, so the darker the chocolate, the more of these compounds it contains. Milk chocolate has less than dark chocolate, and white chocolate has nearly none because it includes no cocoa solids, only cocoa butter.

Does science back up the common claims about chocolate? To find the answers, we're taking a look at the chemistry behind this treat.

Chocolate contains upwards of 800 chemical compounds.
Advertisement

Theobromine and Caffeine: Chocolate as a Pick-Me-Up

Theobromine is an alkaloid, a family of compounds that many plants produce, including the cacao plant. Chocolate is the richest natural source of theobromine, but coffee and tea contain some of it too. Theobromine chemically resembles caffeine and has a similar stimulating effect on our brains. The combination of theobromine and caffeine found in chocolate is believed to create the small lift we feel after eating it. Although they have generally minor pleasant effects on people, these compounds make chocolate toxic to dogs and cats, so remember to keep your stash of Valentine's Day treats out of the reach of your pets.

Antioxidants: Chocolate as a Health Food

Claims about chocolate's beneficial properties aren't limited to effects on our brains. It's also common to hear some chocolate lovers say it's filled with antioxidants, which help prevent damage to cells. Raw cacao beans do have significant amounts of antioxidants such as epicatechin and gallic acid. Unfortunately, the process that cacao beans go through to become chocolate strips them of much of these compounds. A small amount of antioxidants remains, but it's unclear whether this amount is enough to have any benefits.

Some studies have suggested correlations between chocolate consumption and a lower risk of high blood pressure and insulin resistance. However, other more tightly controlled studies haven't found that eating chocolate has these benefits.

Phenethylamine: Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac

Some people say chocolate is popular on Valentine's Day because it acts as an aphrodisiac. Chocolate does have significant amounts of a compound called phenethylamine that causes brain cells to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter with a feel-good effect. However, when we ingest phenethylamine, our bodies break it down before it can reach our brains, so it doesn't actually influence our mood.

Craving Culprits

If these touted compounds don't have strong effects on us, what is it that makes us crave chocolate? Most likely it's a much more common compound, which is sugar—specifically the combination of sugar with chocolate's high fat content. This combination activates the reward centers in our brains. But no matter the chemical specifics, chocolate is something we can enjoy in moderation. So treat yourself or someone else this Valentine's Day.

Reference :
  1. The Chemistry of Chocolate - (https://biobeat.nigms.nih.gov/2020/02/the-chemistry-of-chocolate/)


Source: Newswise

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Adeline Dorcas. (2020, February 18). Check Out the Goodness Hidden Behind Chocolate Chemistry. Medindia. Retrieved on May 24, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/check-out-the-goodness-hidden-behind-chocolate-chemistry-193251-1.htm.

  • MLA

    Adeline Dorcas. "Check Out the Goodness Hidden Behind Chocolate Chemistry". Medindia. May 24, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/check-out-the-goodness-hidden-behind-chocolate-chemistry-193251-1.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Adeline Dorcas. "Check Out the Goodness Hidden Behind Chocolate Chemistry". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/check-out-the-goodness-hidden-behind-chocolate-chemistry-193251-1.htm. (accessed May 24, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Adeline Dorcas. 2021. Check Out the Goodness Hidden Behind Chocolate Chemistry. Medindia, viewed May 24, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/check-out-the-goodness-hidden-behind-chocolate-chemistry-193251-1.htm.

Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Can Weight Loss be Achieved by Drinking Water?
Can Exercise Counts Boost Your Life Counts? 
Prevent Hacking of Medical Devices: FDA Sounds Alarm
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Caffeine and Decaffeination Know Chocolates Better Food Combinations that Affect Your Well-being Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate vs. White Chocolate Foods to Avoid to Keep Acid Reflux At Bay 

Most Popular on Medindia

Drug Side Effects Calculator Accident and Trauma Care Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) Blood Donation - Recipients Blood Pressure Calculator Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Diaphragmatic Hernia Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) Noscaphene (Noscapine) The Essence of Yoga

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use