Having real addiction behaviors around dark chocolate

Answered on July 20, 2014
Created July 19, 2014 at 1:23 AM

It's funny, I've worked in inpatient addictions and I know how addictions work. My behaviors with dark chocolate are becoming a relapsing drama like an addiction. There's no other food that's so hyperpalatable to me. I can even stop myself from eating too much bacon.

When dark chocolate is available, I can't just eat one serving. I eat large amounts, even to the point of making me sick. And chocolate is a huge exacerbator of the SIBO I'm working on.

I go through periods weekly of buying a bar or some bag of dark chocolate covered something. Promsining myself I'll be able to control myself. That night I eat the whole thing. Or I eat it at breakneck speed before the other side of me throws it out, causing a huge conflict. I swear I have a healthy relationship with food with everything else.

Is there something particularly hyperpalatable about dark chocolate?

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3 Answers

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on July 20, 2014
at 05:35 AM

I've been known to bite out of a hunk of super-bitter baking chocolate. It pairs nicely with apple or peach slices, but I'll often eat it by itself. If you're truly craving the cocoa, and not the refined sugar, then this should satisfy your craving.

If that doesn't cut it, then you're probably dealing with a sugar addiction instead.



on July 19, 2014
at 01:06 PM

It could be the sugar, but you might also be craving the PEA in there which has positive mental effects. You could try switching to a tablespoon of cocoa in hot water and see if it cuts down your cravings, if it does, it's the sugar.

I recently started adding this much cocoa into my bullet proof coffee in the morning, and I don't even want to look at a bar of chocolate, even if it's right in front of me; it's as if it doesn't even exist.

Chocolate is also a source of copper which is easy to become deficient in, and also very easy to become poisoned by, but we might crave it because we're low on copper, especially if we don't eat liver.

Depending on what brand of chocolate you were consuming, it might have had some nasty additives in there to make it more addictive. For example, Lindt adds stuff like barley malt extract to all their flavored bars, this is a source of MSG (it's also a gluten source from the barley). I'm very sensitive to gluten, so I don't buy those. Their 90% bars are still clean.

And, most chocolate is fake. For example, Hershey's doesn't use cocoa butter in their wares and have successfully lobbied to change the definition of chocolate so they don't have to. At first they used cheap "vegetable" oils to replace the cocoa butter, and more recently replaced it with an artificial ingredient called PRPG. What's next, replacing it with artificial chocolate flavor, brown paint, and wood pulp? I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

Like with dairy manufacturers pushing low fat milk so they can sell the fat for ice cream and butter, it's far more profitable to remove the cocoa butter fats and sell them off to cosmetics companies.

The last time I used Hershey's (or it might have been Nestle) was for their dark cocoa powder, it doesn't look or feel anything like proper cocoa, it's very finely milled, and when you scoop it out it flies everywhere and sticks to your hand. Not sure what else they did to it, but it feels more like nanoparticles than actual cocoa powder. Just a few years ago, it was a fairly ok inexpensive source of cocoa for baking.

I now avoid all their products like the plague.


on July 19, 2014
at 02:21 AM

I went through the same problem with dark chocolate and came to the realization that it was not the chocolate. It was the sugar in the chocolate (however small an amount) that was setting off my craving and binging.

I tested this theory by making my own paleo chocolate chips without sugar, and did not have the same "can't stop eating these things" feeling. I've tried one version with organic maple syrup and another with stevia clear drops, and neither one of those sweeteners make me feel out of control like store bought chips with sugar do. So if I have this dark chocolate around, I can take it or leave it, like any other paleo food.

Somehow, that refined sugar messes with my brain.

Paleo chocolate chip recipe here.

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