Chocolates and Mood Essay

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Abstract Chocolate is a popular food and it is usually consumed as a snack food which is not as a main meal. Its consumption also has been associated with pleasure, love and enjoyment. Previously, many studies have been done to find the correlation between chocolates consumption and moods but the relationship between chocolates and moods were highly complex. However, the effectiveness of consuming chocolates on peoples mood remains unclear and the evidence in chocolate studies remains highly controversial. A questionnaire was used to collect data about student perceptions in consuming chocolates and its effects on their mood.

The questionnaire provided consists of five questions about chocolates. The results of the research show that most students agreed about the effects of chocolates consumption on students mood. Majority of the respondents confirmed that they felt more calm and happy after consumed chocolates. The conclusion can also be drawn that the effects of consuming chocolates on students mood may be different for every student since everyone has their own biological state of body. Keywords: chocolate, mood Table of contents Page Introduction 3 Literature review 5 Methodology 7 Findings 8 Discussion 13 Conclusion 15 References 16 Appendix 17.

Introduction Background of study Chocolates are produce from the seeds of the tropical cocoa tree Theobroma cacao, usually called simply, cacao, and have become one of the popular food that will be consumed during comfort eating (Warren, 2007). There are many types of chocolate and some of them are milk chocolate, white chocolate, sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate. Its consumption has been associated with pleasure, love, and enjoyment and it is also known as a unique psychoactive food, food that affecting the mind (Lua & Wong, 2011b).

Chocolates reveals an anxiolytic effect during stressful tasks and it have been claimed to enhance better mood and also increase the ability to focus (Dallard et al, 2001; Radin et al, 2007 in Maremmani, Perugi, Rovai, Maremmani, Pacini, Canonico, Carbonata, Mencacci, Muscettola, Pani, Torta,Vampini, Akisal, 2011). Statement of problem According to Burnard, Haji Abdul Rahman HT, Hayes and Edward (2007) , in Lua & Wong (2011a), the negative mood symptoms like depression and anxiety were commonly experienced by young and students who were less experienced.

In other words, students have the high tendency of being depressed. Based on previous research, some individuals take chocolate as self- medication while they are feeling depressed ( Lua & Wong, 2011b). In other words, the depressed people tend to take chocolates as a way to alleviate their mood. This may due to the ingredients of the chocolate itself that might influence peoples mood. This is due to the claimed stated by Lua & Wong (2011b), which is in chocolate consumption, the nutritional component of chocolate has been suggested to affect mood..

Many people incorporate chocolate as part of healthy, varied and balanced diet and also known as food for pleasure (Cooper, Donovan, Waterhouse, Williamson, 2008). Objective of study This research is conducted to study the effects of chocolate consumption on anxiety and depression symptoms among CFS IIUM students. The students mood might be influence by eating chocolate only if that person is a chocolate craver. This may give different response according to the individuals interest. Research question.

In relation to chocolate and moods, this paper tries to answer the following questions: 1. What are the effects of consuming chocolate on students moods ? Literature review A studied done by Macht and Muller (2007),in Thamke, Durrschmid and Rohm (2009) has shown that chocolate immediately affect negative mood, but not the positive or neutral mood and chocolate product with low cocoa are more effective than chocolate product with high content of cocoa. In other word, chocolate only affect and alleviate bad mood but the positive and neutral mood are not being affected at all.

In order to initiate the increase of serotonin production (a neurotransmitter in the brain) which resulted in mood alleviation, anxious and depressed people are advised to take high carbohydrate food for instance chocolate to enhance mood ( Muller, 2007 in Lua & Wong, 2011a). In addition, Martin, Rezzi, Pere-Trepat, Kamlage, Collino, Leibold et al, (2009) in Lua and Wong, (2012) discovered that daily intake of chocolate for about 2 weeks also can exert good impact on stress associated metabolic disorders among stressed people.

According to Schenker, (2000) in Lua and Wong, (2011b), the consumption of dark chocolate stimulate the release of endorphins that lead to increase of appetite and mood. Moreover, the contents of sugar and fat in chocolate also initiate the release of tryptophan and serotonin that may result the increasing of alertness and mood (Lua & Wong, 2012). In order to have comforting effect to the emotional state during chocolate consumption, all these psychoactive substances are very helpful.

Based on previous research conducted by Lua and Wong, (2012) found that secretion of mineralcorticoids and glucocorticoids will be stimulated during stress and this resulted in the decrease of magnesium level which might lead depletion of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that transmit signal of satisfaction in the brain) and followed by decrease of serotonin, a neurotransmitter functioning in the brain that can resulted in positive mood enhancement.

There are limited understanding of emotions and moods since that the brain is known as a complex organ in human body, and one of the chemicals that are responsible to enhance better mood is the chemicals in the brain, endorphins (Warren, 2007). According to Sabelli et al,(1996) in Warren, (2007), One theory for the cause of depression is that patients suffer from a phenylethylamine (PEA) deficit. PEA is a natural compound that function in our brain as a neurotransmitter; it has been showed to increase attention and activity in animals and relieve depression in 60% of depressed patients, and it is also found in many food such as chocolates (p. 6).

In the chocolates, there are several ingredients known as chocolates mood-changing ingredients for instance phenylethylamine, arginine, vitamin B6, magnesium, tryptophan, MAO-inhibitor chemicals and theobromine (Warren, 2007). The theobromine that present in the chocolates is a natural stimulant and it is quite similar to caffeine but without the side effects, and this theobromine also can be used as cough suppressant, allow the blood flow, improve mood and give additional energy (Warren, 2007).

Lua and Wong (2011b) claimed that the contents of sugars in chocolates result in increase of alertness and energy cause by increasing of serotonin. Moreover, Wolfe, Metzger and Stollar (2008) in Lua and Wong (2011b) stated the production of serotonin is important in influencing appetite, sleep and control mood through biofeedback mechanism Bodys response to stress, pain and pleasure are due to the presence of endorphins which is a chemical substance and this release of endorphin responsible to enhance mood by providing a pleasurable experience (Lua & Wong, 2011b).

Each individual has a personal effects on their bodies for certain types foods and these differences depend on previous experience, beliefs, behavior and individual tastes (Solomon,2001 in Lua & Wong, 2011b). It can be said that each person might have different result in consuming chocolates and it may be considered harmful to certain individual and might not result in mood improvement but lead to mood deterioration. Methodology This research paper had been done to study the students perception about the effects of consuming chocolates on peoples mood.

In order to complete this research paper, the sample population which were 30 respondents of 18 to 20 years students of the Centre for Foundation Studies, International Islamic University Malaysia, Petaling Jaya had been asked to fill out a questionnaire about their perception in consuming chocolates and its effects on their mood. The simple random sampling method was used to select the respondents. All students involved are in different courses such as Pharmacy, Architecture, Islamic Revealed Knowledge, Dentistry, Physical Science, Laws, Allied Health Science, Human Science, Engineering and Medical students.

The questionnaire provided consists of five questions about chocolates. Most of the questions asked were closed-ended question which acquired them to tick on appropriate box and the most suitable answer for the question. There was included a yes and no question given. Besides, there was also an open-ended question asking their opinion about the effects of consuming chocolate on their mood. In analysing the data collected from the questionnaire, all the information had been presented in the graph form.

The most preferable choice in consuming chocolate can also be detected easily by using the graph. Findings Based on the questionnaire that had been answered by 30 students of CFS IIUM, the results have been interpreted into graphs. In order to get students perception about the effects of consuming chocolates, the first question in the questionnaire asked about the students interest in consuming chocolates so that it can be differentiated among chocolate lovers and non-chocolate lovers.

Figure 1: The percentage of students interest on chocolates According to Figure 1, most of the respondents which about 90% of them were chocolates lovers and only 10% of the respondents were not interested in consuming chocolates and these might due to certain reasons like the chocolates taste, texture, aroma and ingredients. Figure 2 : The percentage of preferred chocolates by students The pie chart in Figure 2 above shows that the majority of 30 students which were 35% of them preferred to consume dark chocolate.

This may due to the fact that dark chocolate contains more antioxidant and more potentially healthy components. Milk chocolate had nearly similar number of favourable responses (30%) proving that other types of chocolates also contributed to the preferred chocolates among students. Sweetness in chocolates was important due to the result that 17% of respondents preferred sweet chocolates and 13% of them were interested in consuming white chocolate. Additionally, 5% of them considered bittersweet chocolate and only 2% of the respondents preferred to consume unsweetened chocolate.

Every single person has their own interest on the taste of chocolate. Figure 3: Chocolate consumption frequency among students The result in Figure 3 was shown based on the question about the chocolate consumption frequency among students. This result indicated 13 students out of 30 students (about 50%) were consumed chocolates once a week that can be considered as enough for them. This frequent intake of chocolates proved that the majority of the students in CFS IIUM were interested in consuming chocolates.

Moreover, 8 respondents were ate chocolates once a fortnight. Furthermore, about 5 out of 30 students consumed chocolate once a month. This may be due to the price of the chocolates which were quite expensive and not affordable for the students to consume it frequently. Plus, the other four students had a very frequent intake of chocolates which is more than three times a week. This is actually not a good eating habit because it is one of the snack food that contain high content of sugar and calories.

Figure 4: Students reasons for consuming chocolates Based on Figure 4, the respondents were asked about their reasons for consuming chocolates. It is clearly shown in the graph that most of the respondents (10 respondents) were consumed chocolate when they were feeling down or not in a good mood for instance when they were felt sad, disappointed, stress or nervous. According to these result, there were possibilities that consuming chocolates might alleviate and enhance their mood even though it might took time.

On the other hand, 9 out of 30 respondents stated that they were consumed chocolates when they felt sleepy especially to stay up for studied. In CFS IIUM, it is a normal situation if students were studied until late night especially during study week, so they might eat chocolate to make them awake and prevent them felt sleepy. Moreover,7 respondents ate chocolate as snack and junk food, whereas the last three students consumed chocolates due to the reason that it can make them feel healthy.

On top of that, the last question in the survey asked students to write their opinion or expectations about the effects of consuming chocolates on students mood. There were 30 respondents and their responses were classified into two categories. The first group were considered agreed that consuming chocolates can effects students mood while the second group were disagreed toward the argument. For the first group, 60% of the respondents agreed that consuming chocolate can trigger their better mood.

Most of them stated that it is due to the taste of chocolates that were sweet and delicious which can make them feel better and enhance their happy mood. Minority of the agreed group said that there are some chemical substances or ingredients in the chocolate which can trigger their mood. However, the second group, 40% of the respondents were disagreed about the argument that consuming chocolates can enhance better mood which means that from their perspective, chocolate were not contributed in improving and enhancing their mood. Figure 5: Students feeling after consuming chocolates.

Based on the data presented in Figure 5, it can be concluded that most students were felt more calm and happy after consumed chocolates which were 12 out of 30 respondents. Plus, 7 students declared that consuming chocolates keep them more alert especially when they were sleepy while studying. In fact, it is a normal situation for students to study until late night, so they might take chocolate to stay awake. On top of that, five respondents felt satisfied due to the consumption of chocolates and the rest of the respondents which were 6 persons said that they do not felt anything after consumed chocolates.

Discussion Based on the statistical analysis in the previous section, data in Figure 1 shows that most of the respondents which are about 90% of them are chocolates lovers, meaning that they are interested in consuming chocolates. This was similar to the findings of another study conducted by Lua and Wong (2011a), on trainee nurses of University Sultan Zainal Abidin (Unisza) at Kuantan Specialist Hospital which found that more than 90% of the participants claimed that they liked chocolates.

In addition, chocolate is consumed easily because it tastes so nice (Visioli et al, 2009 in Lua & Wong, 2011, p. 264). The interest in consuming chocolate also will influence the outcomes on anxiety, depression and stress symptoms (Lua & Wong, 2011a). Moreover, in Figure 2, the dark chocolates contributed the largest percentage of preferred chocolates by students which is about 35%. This may be due to the fact that dark chocolates contain more antioxidant more potentially healthy components.

The result that dark chocolates contributed as the most preferred chocolates by students rather than other chocolates seemed to be different from the study done by Macht and Muller (2007),in Thamke, Durrschmid and Rohm (2009) as mentioned in the literature review section. The findings of this study found that chocolate product with low cocoa (other than dark chocolates) are more effective than chocolate product with high content of cocoa (dark chocolate).

Furthermore, the bar chart in Figure 3 reveals about the chocolate consumption frequency among students show that only four students had the most frequent intake of chocolates which was more than three a week and 13 students out of 30 students were consumed chocolate once a week which was the least frequent intake of chocolates that can be considered as enough for them since chocolates consumption has its benefits and also might be harm for their health as well.

This is might be due to the claimed that the high amount of sugar in chocolate especially milk chocolate increase the energy value and if taken in large quantity, it has possibility for dental health and diabetes (Cooper, Donovan, Waterhouse and Williamson, 2008). As can be seen in the Figure 4, the result contradicted about the students reason for consuming chocolates. The factor of consuming chocolates when they were not in a good mood or when feeling down contributed the most reason choose by the students which were about 10 respondents.

This result supported by previous research done by Lua and Wong (2011b) which stated that chocolate is taken as a form of self-medication among certain depressed peoples. This result also consistent with the result found by Luomala and Laaksonen, (1999) in Lua and Wong, (2011b) stated that while in a bad mood, chocolate is one of the common things that will be bought by consumer. According to Solomon, (2001) in Lua and Wong, (2012) claimed consumption of chocolate usually increased during periods of low mood.

From the data collected in Figure 5, majority of the participants claimed that they experienced calmness and happiness after consumed chocolates. This result is consistent with the finding from previous research done by Christensen and Pettijohn, (2001) in Lua and Wong, (2011b), consumption of chocolates lead to an increase in good feeling and reduce tension which can have influence on mood. However, 7 students agreed that they were become more alert.

It is due to the presence of theobromine (chemical substance which is similar to caffeine but without side effect) which provide more additional energy and has mood improving effect (Warren, 2007). Moreover, five students stated that they were felt satisfied and six persons do not felt anything. The variety of results can be supported from the claimed that had been made by Lua and Wong (2011b) if the effects of chocolates on mood result from different aspects, it can be said that individual responses to chocolate will be different. Conclusion This research has investigated the effectiveness of consuming chocolates on peoples moods.

As we know, student life can be considered as one of the tough times, most students are having the symptoms of anxiety and depression due to their pack schedule as a student. As mentioned earlier in the introduction, the purpose of this study was to find out the effects of chocolate consumption on anxiety and depression symptoms among CFS IIUM students. Generally, the objective of this research are not really being achieved because the results are still unspecific since that they are many aspects need to be focused on throughout this research.

Based on the findings, most of the students consumed chocolates while they were not in a good mood or when feeling down and to enhance their mood. The results of the research show that most students agreed about the effects of chocolates consumption on students mood. Majority of the respondents confirmed that they felt more calm and happy after consumed chocolates. However, these findings did not mean that everyone will experience the same effects as other people because individual response to chocolate might be different .

It also cannot be simply concluded that their positive mood were caused by the intake of chocolates only. Furthermore, individual difference in chocolate consumption may exert influence on mood. This might due to other reasons such as their own hormonal imbalance or their biological state of bodies. Moreover, these findings are only true for CFS IIUM students. The further study needs to be conducted with students from other university students to see if they are any similarities about the effects of chocolates consumption on students mood.

In the future, behavioural studies in chocolate consumption should be implemented alongside biophysiology, neuropharmacology and quality of life outcome investigations in human beings. References Cooper, K. A. , Donovan, J. L. , Waterhouse, A. L. , & Wiliamson, G. (2008).

Cocoa and health: a decade of research. British Journal of Nutrition, 99, 1-11. Lua, P. L. , & Wong, S. Y. (2011a). Can dark chocolate alleviate anxiety, depressive and stress symptoms among trainee nurses? A parallel, open-label study.

ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, 12 (2), 1-13. Lua, P. L. , & Wong, S. Y. (2011b). Chocolate: Food for Moods. Mal J Nutr, 17 (2), 259-269. Lua, P. L. , & Wong, S. Y. (2012). Dark chocolate consumption on anxiety, depression and health-related quality of life of patients with cancer: a randomised clinical investigation. Mal J Nutr, 1-15. Maremmani, I. , Perugi, G. , Rovai, L. , Maremmani, A. G. I. , Pacini, M. , Canonico, P. L. ,. . . Akiskal, H. S. (2011). Are social drugs (tobacco, coffee and chocolate) related to the bipolar spectrum?.

Journal of Affective Disorder, 1-7. Parker, G. & Crawford, J. (2007). Chocolate craving when depressed: a personality marker. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 191, 351-352. Radin, D. , Hayssen, G. , & Walsh, J. (2007). Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood. Explore, 3 (5), 485-492. Thamke, I. , Dorrschmid, K. , & Rohm. H. , (2009). Sensory description of dark chocolates by consumers. Food Science and Technology,42, 534-539. Warren, S. E. (2007). Healthy chocolate and the brain. Sound Concepts. 1-6. APPENDIX.

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