Cherie Lunghi is well known for her appearance in a TV advert for coffee granules. But is she an addictive caffeine drinker herself? Ever Wondered sent her out to find why so many people are hooked on coffee and chocolate
First port of call – Paris, where Cherie visits one of the world’s biggest chocolate fairs and meets up with Nicola Porter, co-founder of The Chocolate Society…
Nicola Porter is one of the Directors of The Chocolate Society. Her aim is to make people have a better understanding of what real chocolate is all about.
Cherie: Is there a difference between continental chocolate and British chocolate?
Nicola Porter: There is, but to understand the difference, you have to understand what the definition is. European chocolate just contains cocoa butter…they don’t replace any of the cocoa butter with added fats. Cocoa butter gives it it’s shine - and it’s the healthy side of chocolate. Sadly in Britain at the moment, we replace some of that cocoa butter with oils and fats which clog up our insides.
Cherie: So what is is that makes chocolate so addictive? Nicola Porter: Inside chocolate is theobromine, which acts on the body like caffeine. You also have something called phenomelythelene which induces the same feelings as when you fall in love.
What about our eating habits in the past? Cherie heads to the Museum of London to find out more…
Hazel Forsyth is a Curator of the Post Medieval collection at the Museum of London
Hazel Forsyth: There are plenty of contemporary accounts of immoderate quaffing and drunkenness. It’s evident that people had consuming food fads and passions just as we do today. One of their passions was for sugar. We can tell the predeliction for sugar in Elizabethan London by the prevalence of rotting teeth. And this is the period when sugar coated sweetmeats and comfits became common.
So what is it that makes us addicted? Cherie joins Dr Sydney Crown to find out...
Dr Sydney Crown was a consultant at the Royal London Hospital . He has since retired.
Dr Crown : You always have to start with physical attributes of a foodstuff. There’s no doubt that in coffee there’s a physiological reason why some people can become addicted to it. Caffeine is a mild stimulant so it really wakes you up. It’s a muscle stimulant as well. But eating chocolate and sweet things. But by far the most important thing are social factors and psychological factors.
In mild to moderate depression comfort food like chocolate can be a simple solution!
If you would like to find out more about food you might try these suggestions:
The Coffee Book
Gregory:Luttinger Dicum Nime, The New Press
Food Addiction: The Body Knows
Kay Sheppard, Health Communications Inc
The Chocolate and Coffee Box
Christine France, Lorenz Books
Caffeine and Behaviour: Current Views and Research Trends
B.S. Gupta, CRC Press
If you think you might be interested in studying more about these subjects, find out what The Open University has to offer.
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