Pharmacological and sensory factors in chocolate craving

Willa Michener, University of Pennsylvania


This study is directed at differentiating between "pharmacological" or sensory accounts of the satiation of chocolate cravings. It also inquires into the existence of pharmacological effects of chocolate on satiety, mood and energy level. Forty-five subjects who craved chocolate at least once a week participated in the experiment. At the onset of craving, subjects consumed a chocolate bar, the caloric equivalent in "white chocolate" (containing none of the pharmacological components of chocolate), the pharmacological equivalent in cocoa capsules, placebo capsules, nothing, or "white chocolate" plus cocoa capsules. Subjects rated level of craving, hunger/satiety, mood, and energy on visual analog scales before, just after and 90 minutes after each treatment. Chocolate reduced self-rated craving at 90 minutes. The cocoa capsules, placebo and no treatment conditions had virtually no effect. "White chocolate" produced partial abatement, unchanged by the addition of all the pharmacological factors in cocoa. This result does not indicate a role for pharmacological effects in the satisfaction of chocolate craving. It does suggest a role for aroma independent of sweetness, texture and calories.

Subject Area

Physiological psychology|Psychology|Experiments|Pharmacology

Recommended Citation

Michener, Willa, "Pharmacological and sensory factors in chocolate craving" (1994). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9521083.