Chocolate theory of love

Spanish singer Veronica Romeo’s 2012 single (Ѻ) “Tastes Like Chocolate”, in which see sings how she is dreaming of someone whose kiss tastes like chocolate, a play on the premise that dreamed of perfect love will yield the amphetamine-high similar to the effect of eating chocolate. [1]
In science, the chocolate theory of love or “PEA sex theory of love” argues that feeling of being in love is similar to the feeling one gets when eating chocolate; a theory substantiated on the basis that both people in love and amounts of chocolate contain high levels of the amphetamine-like neurotransmitter phenylethylamine (PEA). [1]


The theory is intuitively confirmed by noting that people recently dumped tend to consume a large amount of chocolate, indicating that such individuals are acting to elevate brain PEA levels to previous mid-relationship levels, and that people tend to give out chocolate on Valentine's day.

The chocolate theory originated, in circa 1980, through interviews of American psychologist Michael Liebowitz, author of the 1983 book The Chemistry of Love. [2] During an interview, according to Liebowitz, he remarked to reporters that “chocolate is loaded with PEA”, and this side comment became the focus for an article in The New York Time, which was then taken up by the news wire services, then evolving into the non-eponymous “chocolate theory of love”. In his own words: [3]

Chocolate theory of love
Left: American psychologist Michael Liebowitz, originator of the circa 1980 so-called "chocolate theory of love", that would go on to capture news headlines in the decades to follow. [3] Right: Humorous chemical alphabet depiction of the spelling of chocolate in relation to the elements: C (carbon), Ho (holmium), Co (cobalt), La (lanthanum), and Te (Tellurium); only two (C and Co), to note, are actually found in the structure (diet) of the human molecule (human being).
“In one interview I remarked that chocolate was loaded with PEA, so perhaps people ate chocolate to enhance romantic feelings ... this became the focus for an article in The New York Times, which was then taken up by the wire services, then by magazine free-lancers, and evolved into the chocolate theory of love.”

To test the theory, researchers at the National Institute of Health ate pounds of chocolate, and then measured the levels of PEA in their urine in the days to follow; the PEA levels, however, remained unchanged. [3]

In this case, these negative results are likely similar to earlier serotonin studies, which showed that to determine accurate changes in brain PEA levels, measurements must be taken from the jugular vein (of the neck), thus measuring blood directly leaving the brain.

See also
Chemistry of love
Endorphin theory of love

1. Love and Chocolate (1991) – Urban Legend Archive,
2. Friedman, Max. (1996). “A Bittersweet Romance: Can a Heartfelt Love of Chocolate Really be Wrong.” (pg. 80), Vegetarian Times, No. 221.
3. (a) Liebowitz, Michael, R. (1983). The Chemistry of Love (pgs. 100, 169, 177-78). Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.
(b) Michael Liebowitz – Wikipedia.
4. Voronical Romeo – Wikipedia.

Further reading
● Small, D.M., Zatorre, R.J., Dagher, A., Evans, A.C., and Jones-Gotman, M. (2001). “Changes in Brain Activity related to eating Chocolate: From Pleasure to Aversion.” Brain, 124, 1720-33.
● Williams, Mary L. (2009). “Chocolate, Love and Myth-information”,, Feb. 12.

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