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Why are chocolate chip cookies so addictive?

Why are chocolate chip cookies so addictive?

Why are chocolate chip cookies so addictive?

Scientists think there’s more to our craving than childhood memories or a sugar hit.

Remember when you were a child and Grandma pulled a tray of hot chocolate chip cookies out of the oven? You couldn’t resist biting into one, or several. What makes them so universally craved?

Some suggest it’s the connection to our past; for others, eating chocolate chip cookies can be associated with a range of emotions.

Researchers believe there may be scientific explanations. Evidence shows sugar and sweetness can induce rewards and cravings comparable to those induced by addictive drugs, including cocaine.

Then there’s the chocolate, which contains small amounts of anandamide, a brain chemical that targets the same cell receptors as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. That’s not to say chocolate will produce the same “high” as marijuana, but there may be a chemical basis for the pleasure we get from eating chocolate.

According to Gary Wenk, director of neuroscience programmes at Ohio State University and author of Your Brain on Food, high-fat, sugar-rich cookies raise the level of anandamide in our brains. “The fat and sugar combine to induce our addiction as much as does the anandamide,” Wenk says. “It’s a triple play of delight.”

Double Chocolate & Pecan Cookies Recipe

This science may sound intriguing, but the simplest explanation for why chocolate chip cookies are so delectable may have to do with the mix of ingredients that combine in a way that appeals to our senses.

“A chocolate chip cookie is a brilliant contrast among the flavours and among the textures,” says Gail Vance Civille, president of Sensory Spectrum, a consulting firm that helps companies learn how sensory cues drive consumer perceptions of products.

The flavour, according to Civille, is “a beautiful amalgam of caramelised butter and sugar.” And as the chocolate melts, it becomes more aromatic and punches up the flavour.

It sounds counterintuitive, but salt is important too. “It is what adds interest to food, even if it’s a sweet food, because it makes the sugar and other ingredients taste better and come together better,” Civille says.

Whether they’re an addiction or not, these beloved cookies can have a place in a balanced diet – so long as you keep portions in check.

Feel that craving coming along? Try our Double Choc Chip Pan Cookie with Spiced Ginger Icing.

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