Chocolate cravings are cultural

Scientists have struggled to learn the secrets of chocolate. In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains tiny amounts of chemicals that can alter one's mood. And chocolate tops the list of sweets that women crave. Several studies even theorized that women's desire for chocolate is rooted in a biological need for these chemicals.

A new study, to be published later this year in the journal Appetite, throws cold water on that notion. Researchers questioned male and female college students in the US and Spain. The women of both countries craved sweet foods, while the men preferred salty. US women said they craved chocolate more than other sweets, but Spanish women did not.

The new study says that love of chocolate is learned, not innate. Researchers recognize that people love foods that are familiar, and Americans are confronted by a daily deluge of chocolate, which is not the case in countries such as Spain.

Source: The New York Times

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