A New Report Shows Most People Would Give Up Social Media Over Chocolate

Chocolate has been a beloved and even revered food since ancient Olmec and Mayan civilizations first discovered and processed cacao around 5,500 years ago. The Mayans even deemed their traditional bitter chocolate beverage "the drink of the gods." European chocolatiers transformed bitter chocolate into a sweet artform by the 17th century, and today it remains one of the most popular flavors and ingredients in everything from baked goods to candy to hot drinks

Worldwide fascination with chocolate continues to grow, as evidenced by a recent global report on consumer trends from The Harris Poll and Mondelēz International. When presented with a choice between giving up social media or chocolate for a month, 57% of the global population surveyed and 65% of North American consumers stated that they'd give up social media over chocolate. 

Considering how glued we are to our phones, and how addicting those social media "likes" and viral videos have become, this report validates just how much we love chocolate. The same report revealed that over 80% of global consumers eat chocolate monthly, and more than 50% eat chocolate weekly. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate pretzels and cookies, and chocolate candy ranked as the most consumed forms of chocolate worldwide.

The mood-enhancing effects of chocolate

The Mayans deified chocolate, and modern global consumers echoed similarly transcendent sentiments, with 82% of the report's respondents stating that chocolate is good for the soul and 73% declaring that chocolate has the power to turn an ordinary moment into an extraordinary one. Multiple studies have proven chocolate's joyous effects on our moods, linking certain properties in cacao to pleasure receptors in our brains. Chocolate contains both tryptophan and tyramine, two compounds that link directly to the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. 

Serotonin and dopamine are among the most important "feel good" compounds associated with joy, serenity, and pleasure in our bodies. So, when we bite into our favorite brand of chocolate or suck down a chocolate milkshake, we get a rush of dopamine and serotonin that results in blissful feelings of euphoria. Consequently, when consumers reportedly referred to chocolate as an escape from their daily grind and a burst of happiness to brighten their day, this confirms the documented neurological effects that chocolate has on mental health.

Oddly enough, there have also been plenty of studies on the effects of social media on those same pleasure receptors. Both scholarly and popular articles have likened social media to a highly addictive drug because the attention we receive through "likes" or "comments" also triggers the release of dopamine in our brains. Unfortunately, many of these same studies report the negative effects on self-esteem, the danger of peer pressure, and addiction complications that arise from the quest for more dopamine via social media clicks.