Chocolate the new pleasure drug: you can see it in the eyes

4th July 2013

New research using electroretinography has figured out a way of measuring pleasure responses to food through the eyes.

It was found that on inserting an article of pleasurable food into the mouth, an electrical response spike appeared within the retina in response to a flash of light. This reached a huge proportion higher than the far lower response to control substances such as water, responding the equivalent of stimulant drugs like methylphenidate.

“Food is both a nutrient delivery system and a pleasure delivery system, and a ‘side effect’ is excess calories. I want to maximize the pleasure and nutritional value of food but minimize the side effects. We need more user-friendly tools to do that.” 

Dr. Jennifer Nasser, Drexel University‘s College of Nursing and Health Professions (2013).

The experiment was conducted using a small piece of chocolate brownie, measuring the increase of dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter which signals messages to the brain using inexpensive ERG techniques. This helps to confirm a positive link between the eye’s dopamine system and the brain’s which were previously thought as separate. Once progressed, the research is hoped to deliver a fantastic insight into clinical research and prevention of obesity and food addiction.

For full research view source: Drexel University (2013, June 24). Pleasure response from chocolate: You can see it in the eyes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from­/releases/2013/06/130624111014.htm


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