Can you pump-up your chocolate with the power of intention?

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chocolate intentions

You can’t imagine how happy I was to learn about the healthful effects of chocolate.

Yes, it’s true, the right kind of chocolate, organic 70% dark, can actually make you not only smile, it can scavenge those nasty little free-radical critters from your body, enhance your mood, help you live longer and gain you lots of friends! But, now I’ve just learned…

There may be something pretty astonishing you can do to your sweet, brown love-morsels to make them even better for you.

You’re never gonna believe what it is. I didn’t when I first learned heard it. But then someone I respected greatly, someone bright and well-educated with a myth-busting bent sent me a copy of the research that seemed to prove the outrageous claims…

Eating chocolate pumped-up with good-intentions makes you feel better!

“You’ve got to be kidding,” was my immediate response.

Look, I saw What The Bleep Do We Know®…18 times. I watched, along with millions, the experiments and claims that water in bottles with different words written on them took on different molecular properties based on the words. I don’t get it, I am skeptical of it, but I am cautiously open to some kind of non-traditional explanation.

But, chocolate?

Can the the beneficial effect of chocolate actually be changed or enhanced by “blessing” it with an intention before eating it?

Here’s a copy of the actual study abstract, along with it’s findings:

Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood.
Radin D, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA, USA.

  • OBJECTIVE: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment investigated whether chocolate exposed to “good intentions” would enhance mood more than unexposed chocolate.
  • DESIGN: Individuals were assigned to one of four groups and asked to record their mood each day for a week by using the Profile of Mood States. For days three, four and five, each person consumed a half ounce of dark chocolate twice a day at prescribed times. Three groups blindly received chocolate that had been intentionally treated by three different techniques. The intention in each case was that people who ate the chocolate would experience an enhanced sense of energy, vigor, and well-being. The fourth group blindly received untreated chocolate as a placebo control. The hypothesis was that mood reported during the three days of eating chocolate would improve more in the intentional groups than in the control group.
  • SUBJECTS: Stratified random sampling was used to distribute 62 participants among the four groups, matched for age, gender, and amount of chocolate consumed on average per week. Most participants lived in the same geographic region to reduce mood variations due to changes in weather, and the experiment was conducted during one week to reduce effects of current events on mood fluctuations.
  • RESULTS: On the third day of eating chocolate, mood had improved significantly more in the intention conditions than in the control condition (P = .04). Analysis of a planned subset of individuals who habitually consumed less than the grand mean of 3.2 ounces of chocolate per week showed a stronger improvement in mood (P = .0001). Primary contributors to the mood changes were the factors of declining fatigue (P = .01) and increasing vigor (P = .002). All three intentional techniques contributed to the observed results.
  • CONCLUSION: The mood-elevating properties of chocolate can be enhanced with intention.

Granted, at only 62 people, the study was small, but it also showed that in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, academic setting…

Chocolate “treated” with good-vibes makes you feel better.

It actually had an effect on the people who consumed it that was measurably different than the chocolate that did not “receive” positive intentions.

Pardon the pun, I want to believe it, but it’s a bit…tough to swallow.

So, what do you think? Is it the real deal? Can intentions, in some way, alter the physical properties of chocolate and thereby effect the people who consume it differently? Is this study for real? Is it a sham?

As always, I’ve just gotta know what you guys think…

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19 responses

19 responses to “Can you pump-up your chocolate with the power of intention?”

  1. Naomi says:

    Ok, I’ll admit that we tape words on our water jar and have been doing it for a few years. The pictures of the molecules are pretty compelling, what can I say! I never thought about chocolate though. I wonder if it works for hamburgers too?

  2. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Naomi – Hamburgers, eh? Now THAT would make for really interesting study!

  3. NJ WebGuy says:

    I’m going to try it on this cup of coffee right now.

  4. I’ve heard of a similar study involving pieces of cake for after dinner dessert. If you thoroughly enjoy and savor it while eating, the results are less “fatty” than if you think “Oh I shouldn’t be eating this, it’s going straight to my (fill in the blank part of the body)”.

    Moral, enjoy your food.

    I don’t think the power of thinking overcomes eating the whole cake for dessert though.

  5. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ NJ WebGuy – No need, I just dunked a boatload of feel-good into your mug remotely!

    @ Corey – I have to admit, my first thoughts were on similar silliness!

    But…the wacky thing is this seems to actually have been a “real” study that followed and passed protocol for both peer-review and publication.

    Would still love to know more about the process, though, like how the good intentions were “installed” in the chocolate.

  6. Now it all makes sense. What I should be doing for a living is coming up with experiments like THIS!

  7. Well, I think good intentions and positive thinking have great effects. If it’s through what we eat, what we drink, what we see or hear, I still think it’s all linked to our very own determination to enjoy life, be happy and feel good 🙂

  8. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hayden – I think you may have just stumbled onto my life-purpose! 😉

    @ Alina – No doubt, our own personal outlook and intentions rule.

  9. After reading a lot about Emoto’s research, this does not seem like a stretch, our intentions affect everything in our lives whether we notice what we are doing or not.

    But this is an experiment I would love to sign up for! (Hand waving excitedly in the air, CHOCOLATE!)

  10. AB says:

    “Analysis of a planned subset of individuals who habitually consumed less than the grand mean of 3.2 ounces of chocolate per week showed a stronger improvement in mood (P = .0001).”

    This is saying that those who consumed less of the blessed chocolate had greater mood improvement. That seems to undermine their overall conclusion rather than strengthen it.

  11. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ AB – yeah, I was looking at that line, too, and wondering the same thing. Or, is there some other interpretation? Okay, here’s a theory, if that’s how it’s supposed to read, and the people who actually felt best are the ones who consumed the least chocolate, then maybe it has to do with them simply having less sugar?

    Does anyone out there have more detail on this study? We need answers!

  12. Jillian says:

    @AB – no, I think what they are saying is that the people who didn’t normally eat that much chocolate before the study experienced greater benefits than the regular chocolate-eaters.

    I’m wondering if it’s necessary to have someone else think positive thoughts about your chocolate for you, or can you do it yourself? Does it diminish the effect if you ask them to do it?

  13. Kris says:

    I guess I’ll have to be the one to play devil’s advocate in this case:

    “Doctor” Masaru Emoto acquired his degree from a company in India that in the U.S. and in many other countries would be considered a degree mill. For around $1,000 you can get your own M.D. degree from the same institution:

    Also, his experiments with water are conducted under uncontrolled conditions, not scientific in the least. If I write the word “Love” on a piece of paper and tape it to the side of a water bottle and stick the bottle in the freezer, and then I remove it later and put the ice under a microscope and deliberately seek out molecules with the most aesthetically pleasing appearance and only photograph those, while ignoring the rest that aren’t quite so pretty, that is not science. That’s art. While the resulting photographs of water molecules are attractive, they don’t in any way represent the results of a scientific experiment.

    With his current method, the experiment isn’t blind and the molecules aren’t selected randomly. The person photographing the molecules knows which word was written on the bottle and is primed to seek molecules that suit that particular word. To conduct a truly scientific experiment to prove his theory, he would need to have one person write the words on the bottles and freeze the bottles, and then have that person remove the bottles from the freezer and remove the words and then label the bottles some other way (numerically, perhaps, or with a code of some kind) and keep track of which bottle featured which word so the experiment could be conducted as a blind study. The numerically labeled frozen bottles would have to be given to photographers who knew nothing about which word had been printed on which bottle, and they would need to randomly photograph dozens of individual molecules from each sample and label the photographs with the appropriate number to match the bottle.

    If they conducted the experiment in that manner and turned up the same results, they would be taken seriously. Unfortunately, they’ve never conducted their experiments in an even remotely scientific way, and any attempts to replicate their results under controlled conditions have failed.

    So, while the idea of water molecules responding to intent or language is a romantic notion and one I actually find rather appealing, there is no evidence to back up the claim. The concept certainly sells a lot of books, though, so I have to give Masaru Emoto credit for his creativity.

  14. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Kris – Very interesting. I never really looked deeply into the scientific methodology of background of Dr. Emoto, but always felt uneasy about his experiments. Hopeful, but uneasy. I wonder if anyone else has ever tried to replicate them in a more clinically-controlled, randomized, double-blind, placebo kind of way?

  15. Tom in Austin says:

    I’ve never figured out the home-field advantage in football and basketball. The playing surfaces are the same size, the goals are in the same locations at the same heights. But the “positive energy” of the fans helps the home team. Same thing going on here?

    My wife is a chocolatier and she swears that it’s impossible for the chocolate to get into and stay in temper if she fights it.

  16. holly says:

    I make chocolate and paintings in Hove (UK) and always
    focus on putting pure love and joy into each
    chocolate bar or picture.
    The results are truely amazing, magical and uplifting, our minds and spirits are more powerful then we think.

  17. […] Fields discovered this interesting bit of research and shared it on his blog. Basically this experiment tested whether mood would be improved by […]

  18. Sarah Irani says:

    Alright. Dr. Emoto has shown that we can affect water crystals through our thoughts and prayers. EVERYTHING is made up of light, sound and changing, vibrating molecules. Our thoughts manifest into molecular reality.

    Not to dive too deep in Quantum Physics here, but YES, our thoughts and intentions affect everything. EVERYTHING. Conscious prayer and intention over our food before we eat is a powerful way to get more “soul nutrition” out of our food. This stuff is for real.

  19. […] Fields discovered this interesting bit of research and shared it on his blog. Basically this experiment tested whether mood would be improved by […]