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What is a Chocolate Hangover?

Oh no… Never again… Yes, the morning after… The morning after I ate a lot of chocolate.

I have a chocolate hangover… headache… queasy stomach… etc..

Never heard of it? Not many have. Maybe many people get them and don’t recognize the cause. It is what can happen from eating too much chocolate. Usually I get them the following day of a binge, though it may not really start till the afternoon.

“What?”, you may ask. “Does such a thing exist?”. Goodness you are asking a lot of questions and me with a sore head. Anyway will do my best to answer.

Think about it. Does chocolate give a buzz? Yes. Well, everything which causes a chemical buzz has a down side. What is the down side of the chocolate buzz? Why its the chocolate hangover.

This may be surprising since the Choco Industry is forever ‘feeding’ the media with ‘sweet’ stories about how chocolate is good for us. Yeah right…

“But there are scientific studies to back this up”, you may say. Fair enough, but what did those studies – so often quoted in the media – use for the definition of “chocolate”. Was is pure cocoa, or the heavy-duty mix of fat and sugar which becomes the good ol’ standard choccie bar?

Also how much chocolate is good and how much is not good? Is an infinite amount of chocolate good? Obviously not. How come these oft quoted “scientific” studies don’t tell us how much is too much?

A lot depends on the form the chocolate is in. Chocolate cake bring on especially strong chocolate hangovers – at least in me and some other members of my family. I notice that if I pour milk over a small chocolate brownie my head does not hurt the next day. Or if I have overindulged already and I drink milk shortly after that seems to help too. Not sure why.

Here are some possible cures the chocolate hangover?

For headache and queasy stomach a lemon drink can help a lot. Also black tea with some dry toast. Oddly enough Coca Cola can help (after all it was originally developed as a hangover cure) sipped while very slowly eating some dry crackers.  Maybe other colas too (they I have not risk trying them in case they don’t). When the stomache settles then drinking lots of water is good.

Of course prevention is better than cure. Tricky though as more and more things seem to have chocolate in them. It seems to be considered cute for someone to describe themselves as a “chocolate addict”. Yet how much of the raging obesity in the Western world, and associated diseases, is caused by so much chocolate in our diet? I don’t know, but most chocolate bars are mostly sugar and fat.

Anyway, I am off to get something for my sore head.

Never again…

Well, maybe just a little bit… but not for a few days at least…

Update: I ate some chocolate made from “raw chocolate” and was fine the next day. However, I was careful to eat it slowly, chew well and not overindulge.

The “chew well” part has to do with helping the body break down the fat (a process which starts with the saliva in the mouth) rather than just chucking it down my throat after a quick chomp or two. This allows the flavour to be savoured – which is supposed to be the whole point of eating the stuff anyway. This in turn makes the “I have had enough” trigger from the body kick in and be triggered earlier than otherwise, so less urge to eat so much.

I also recently had some chocolate cake (usually something I avoid owing to headache inducing misery to follow) made with raw chocolate, which I ate with cream, and I was fine the next day with that too. Somehow milky or creamy things, help. Yet too much cream on its own can give me a dull headache the next day. I guess it is all a matter of not overindulging.

Maybe the cream acts as a buffer to slow down my body’s absorption of something in the chocolate which causes the headaches. I wonder if this slow-down stops the headache being triggered. Maybe the fat in say a chocolate bar, does not do the buffering so well (as usually it is heavily processed goop of some kind) and maybe it adds to the problem.


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8 comments to What is a Chocolate Hangover?

  • Dale

    It is true! I had a lot of dark chocolate yesterday and then couldn’t sleep well last night — I was so tired, but my heart was beating like I had just exercised. When I woke up, it felt like I had a hangover.

    Thank you for your post!

  • Natalie

    I can wholly support your answer. Whilst there is intense enjoyment during the eating of chocolate, there appear to be side-effects which come into play the next day or many hours after the binge. I ate a small 100g box of Swiss pralines last evening and I woke up very tired, feeling sluggish all day, developing into a queasy stomach this afternoon. I’ve had the symptoms before but it had only just dawned in me the cause.

  • Lily

    I’m glad it isn’t just me! I made a flour less chocolate cake for my family Christmas party yesterday (I have celiac’s, pretty much everyone else eats gluten, but everyone loves a flour less chocolate cake!) and ate a small slice. I haven’t been able to get out of bed yet today, my head is absolutely killing me. I get a mini hangover from too much sugar, but dark chocolate and sugar? Aaargh the worst! My sister and her husband had more cake for breakfast. I can’t even think about that.

  • tim

    ughhhhh they most definitely *do* exist … ate whole box of chocolates last night. no alcohol or anything else

    this is next day at 5pm and im in PAIN… its like cattle stampeding across my head. ughghghgh never again…

  • adicthead

    i’ve always been addicted to ANYTHING sweet…not proud to be that out of control..but searching the web for answers. if i eat 1 i’ll eat the whole thing..whole cake, whole bag of expensive choc ( dark or milk ) chocolate like a pig..just put the ” shakes” and “heart pounding” and worse of all “fear” like a paranouea. i really need to stop this. people tend to give me candy for birthday, christmas, easter, halloween. i’ve even told them i’m diabetic but they STILL give me sweets. i can’t resist though. a doctor did tell me i was pre-diabetic 4 years ago..new doc says “no diabetes here”????? my stomach seems to handle it but it’s emotional..like a light-headed woozy scarey, out of balance feeling. i stay in the house afraid to drive anywhere with this awful feeling. my weight is good ( i’m about 14 lbs more than i should be ) but i carry it well, sooo i keep buying, eating etc .. it’s like an alcoholic on a binge, i don’t do it daily BUT when i do it I DO IT.

  • I googled “chocolate creates hangover like effects” after eating a small handful of 60% last night, and landed here. Even after working out and drinking lots of water I feel like I have a really bad hangover from alcohol. My wife even says I am “acting hungover”. It’s been 2 years since I had a drink, and even then it was 2 beers, before that it was 3 months. I don’t drink, I avoid all artificial ingredients, eat healthy and exercise. Chocolate makes me feel like I drank a case of beer last night. At least the answer is clear, no middle ground for me, no more chocolate. Thanks for posting.

  • True, I ate dark 85% cocoa all week, and today I had none. Felt nauseus with a headache and hi blood pressure. 30min ago had two pieces of dark choc and the hangover has slowly gone away.

    Thank for sharing! Cheers!

  • Adam

    Me too. Ate half a bag of dark chocolate chips. Couldn’t sleep well, next day ruined with headache.

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