A study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago indicates that there is a link between the consumption of chocolate and lessening of pain. While the study was conducted with animal models, the researchers believe that the findings also translate to studies of obesity in humans. This investigation is unique in that it shows a link between taste and pain.
Evidence from the research indicates that eating chocolate or drinking water reduces response to pain. This effect however is not related to hunger or appetite. Contrarily, drinking or eating foods that are non-pleasurable does not produce the same painkilling effect. The researchers point to the brainstem as the control source for this link between taste and pain. As it relates to obesity in humans, it is believed that the brain signals people who are experiencing pain, whether emotional or physical, to keep eating pleasurable food even if they are not hungry. Researcher Peggy Mason states, "We've gotten a lot more overweight in the last 100 to 150 years. We're not more hungry; the fact of the matter is that we eat more because food is readily available and we are biologically destined to eat what's readily available." The reduction of pain in animals is thought to help them stay focused when eating.
Learn more about this study:
- Chocolate, Water Reduce Pain Response To Heat Science Daily