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A chocoholic is a person who craves or compulsively consumes chocolate.[1] There is some medical evidence to support the existence of actual addiction to chocolate.[2] However, the term is mostly used loosely or humorously to describe a person who is inordinately fond of chocolate. The word chocoholic was first used in 1968 according to Merriam-Webster. It is a portmanteau of "chocolate" and "alcoholic".[1]

Chocoholism is quite common. In studies of food cravings, chocolate and chocolate confectioneries almost always top the list of foods people say they crave.[3]


The essential components of addiction are intense craving for something, loss of control over the use of it, and continued use despite negative consequences. Studies have shown that people can exhibit all three of these components in relation to food, particularly food that contains sugar or fat. Since chocolate contains both, it is often used in studies of food addiction.[4]

In addition to sugar and fat, chocolate contains several substances that can make it feel "addictive". These include tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating moods; high serotonin levels can produce feelings of elation. Another is phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter from which amphetamine is derived; phenylethylamine is nicknamed "chocolate amphetamine" and can cause feelings of excitement and attraction.[5] Chocolate also contains caffeine.

Despite some evidence that this type of addiction exists, there is no formal diagnosis given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V).[6]


Even scientists who doubt the existence of true addiction agree that chocolate craving is real.[7] Women are especially affected.[8][9]

One cause of chocolate craving could be magnesium deficiency.[10][11]

Popular usage[edit]

  • Many diet books,[12] cookbooks,[13] and even travel books[14] claim to be for chocoholics.
  • Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is described as "famously chocoholic".[15]
  • Companies such as Dairy Queen have released products using "Chocoholic" in their name.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chocoholic". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  2. ^ Hetherington, Marion M.; MacDiarmid, Jennifer I. (1993). "'Chocolate Addiction': A Preliminary Study of its Description and its Relationship to Problem Eating". Appetite. 21 (3): 233–46. doi:10.1006/appe.1993.1042. PMID 8141595.
  3. ^ Rogers, Peter (2003). "Food cravings and addictions – fact and fallacy". In Carr, Tanya; Descheemaeker, Koen (eds.). Nutrition and Health - Current topics - 3. Antwerpen: Garant. pp. 69–76. ISBN 978-90-441-1493-5.
  4. ^ Miller, Michael Craig (February 14, 2013). "Can you become addicted to chocolate?". Harvard Health Blog. Harvard University. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Chocoholic? Now for the science part". Wales Online. April 18, 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  6. ^ Meule, Adrian; Gearhardt, Ashley N. (2014-09-16). "Food Addiction in the Light of DSM-5". Nutrients. 6 (9): 3653–3671. doi:10.3390/nu6093653. PMC 4179181. PMID 25230209.
  7. ^ Bruinsma, Kristen; Taren, Douglas L. (1999). "Chocolate: Food or Drug?". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 99 (10): 1249–56. doi:10.1016/S0002-8223(99)00307-7. PMID 10524390.
  8. ^ Skarnulis, Leanna (February 4, 2005). "The Chocoholic's Survival Guide". WebMD. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  9. ^ "'Chocoholism' may be a cultural phenomenon for women". CNN. 15 February 1999.
  10. ^ "What your choccy cravings are trying to tell you". Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Bad News: The Sugar Cravings Around Your Period Are Actually Ageing You". 11 July 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  12. ^ Virtue, Doreen, The Chocoholic's Dream Diet, Bantam Books, 1990[page needed]
  13. ^ Wolf-Cohen, Elizabeth, Chocoholic: 50 Irresistible Indulgences: The Ultimate Cook's Collection, Southwater Pub, 2003[page needed]
  14. ^ Wharton, Susan Margaret, Spoil Yourself: A Chocoholic Guide to Melbourne, Chocolate Press, 2002[page needed]
  15. ^ Samuel, Henry (December 26, 2008). "'Chocoholic' Sarkozy gets treat with visit to cocoa capital of Brazil". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  16. ^ Khensovan, Patrick (July 3, 2011). "Dairy Queen Announces 'Triple Chocoholic Blizzard' as July's Blizzard of the Month". Foodbeast.

External links[edit]