British researchers said Monday they were stunned to discover that people get more of a buzz from eating chocolate than passionately kissing their lovers.
"These results really surprised and intrigued us," said psychologist David Lewis, who led a study that recorded brain activity and heart rate from volunteers who tasted pieces of dark chocolate or kissed their partners.

"There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz -- a buzz that, in many cases, lasted four times as long as the most passionate kiss."

While researchers expected chocolate, especially dark chocolate, to raise heart rates, he said, "both the length of this increase together with the powerful effects it had on the mind were something none of us had anticipated."

The 12 volunteers, all aged in their 20s, wore heart monitors and had electrodes attached to their heads as each placed a piece of dark chocolate on the tongue and, without chewing, indicated when it started to melt.

Couples were later invited to kiss each other in the same way as they would do normally.

The study found that -- at the point chocolate melts in the mouth -- all areas of the brain are stimulated far more intensely and for longer than from from kissing.

Chocolate also made the heart beat faster, according to the study supervised by Lewis, a formerly University of Sussex psychologist who now runs a private research company called The Mind Lab.

Some people saw the number of heart beats per minute rise from a resting rate of about 60 to as high as 140. Kissing also made the couples' hearts pound, but not for as long.

Both sexes showed the same responses in the tests.