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Made from the beans of the cocoa tree, chocolate was first developed as a food in South America, where it was primarily consumed as a bitter beverage. Cocoa was not combined with sugar until the Spaniards brought chocolate back to Europe. The Latin name of the plant is Theobroma cocoa. "Theobroma" means food of the gods. Because of this, one of the stimulant substances in chocolate is named theobromine; this caffeine-related substance does not contain the element bromine.
As a widely consumed food, chocolate is assumed to have a high safety factor. However, because of its caffeine and theobromine content, it would be expected to have potential side effects similar to those of coffee and black tea , namely: heartburn, gastritis, insomnia, anxiety, and heart arrhythmias (benign palpitations or more serious disturbances of heart rhythm.) 1 All drug interactions that can occur with caffeine would be expected to occur with chocolate as well.
Most chocolate products are high in calories, and therefore could lead to weight gain.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- MAO inhibitors : The caffeine in chocolate could cause dangerous drug interactions.
- Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin: The...