Dark chocolate is still healthy

There is yet another study claiming that dark chocolate is healthy,
due to high amounts of antioxidants. This is not new, since the
benefits of antioxidants are touted for quite some time, as is the fact
that chocolate is rich with flavanoids, a type of antioxidants.

The first reason I like this particular article is that it bothers
to emphasise several times that those health benefits are only in dark
chocolate, not white or milk chocolate. Since I’m very much pro dark
chocolate, and con the thing called milk chocolate, this is always nice to hear. Mind
you, this is something the article mentioned as shown in other
studies, but this particular study only compared dark and white
chocolate, no milk. Which is also a good thing, since these are the two
kinds I acknowledge as deserving to live, and no self-respecting
researcher should refer to milk chocolate as chocolate…

OK, enough silly chocolate bashing. Chocolate good. the other reasons are more fun, anyway. Read:

Investigators
from the University of L’Aquila in Italy found that after eating only
100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, of dark chocolate every day for 15 days, 15
healthy people had lower blood pressures and were more sensitive to
insulin, an important factor in metabolizing sugar.

Yes, that’s only
100g
. Like, a full pack of chocolate. Daily. So far the word was that
a tablet or two of chocolate per day are good. But a whole packet,
that’s a whole different ballgame, methinks. Even one of the
investigators, a Dr. Ferri, admitted:

He added that each 100 grams of dark chocolate contains
roughly 500 calories.

Not to mention plain fat. At least dark chocolate is low on carbohydrates (sugar – for you uneducated lot), so that’s something.

Beyond that, we have the amazing research quality and methodology:

Ferri and colleagues asked 7 men and 8 women, all healthy,
to eat 100 grams of dark chocolate or 90 grams of white
chocolate every day for 15 days. The subjects consumed no
chocolate for the next 7 days and then switched to the other
chocolate type for 15 days.

First,
sample size. Seven men, eight women. That’s like, wow, fifteen whole
people. I doubt anyone can question that they are totally
representative of the population at large, and give great confidence to
the results.

Second, 100g of dark, compared with 90g of white? Why? Especially
since they expected the flavanoids to be the key factor, and, well,
white chocolate doesn’t really have those. But if they wanted to make
sure, taking the same amounts would make for a stronger case. And if they
didn’t want to bother checking, why do a research in the first place?
The way it currently goes, someone can legitimately claim that they didn’t prove
much…

Odd.

And now for the really fun part, chocolate manufacturers jump on the bandwagon too.

"While the University’s results are exciting — especially for chocolate
lovers — not all chocolate contains high levels of flavanols, which impart
these potential heart healthy benefits," says Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe, PhD,
Research Chemist for Mars, Incorporated, the world leader in cocoa science.
"In fact, only certain cocoas and chocolates are specially processed to retain
much of the flavanols naturally occurring in cocoa beans."

Yes, the take themselves seriously, having lots of scientists around. I like the world leader in cocoa science
title. And in case you were wondering which certain kinds of chocolate
have most flavanoids, why, they’re the ones made by this selfsame
company using its unique and special processes. I wonder why nobody
tried to publish this explanation and then give a different company the
credit for being better…

Based on 15 years of research, Mars has developed the only patented and
proprietary Cocoapro® cocoa process to preserve these important cocoa
flavanols that often are destroyed during standard processing.  This unique
process, used in the chocolate in a new Mars cocoa-based snack bar called
CocoaVia®, helps retain the natural goodness of the cocoa bean while keeping
the pleasurable taste characteristics of chocolate

Uh-huh.
I think this paragraph contains more superlatives than even dark
chocolate contain flavanoids. On the other hand, laughing myself silly
is also good for my health, so whatever works.

And they to are aware of the dangers of eating too much chocolate
(Or at least of the dangers of being sued by obese kids claiming they
only ate tons of chocolate because of this press release):

While research is promising, Mars Nutrition Communications Director
Marlene Machut cautions, "It’s not about eating more chocolate, but rather
about working flavanol-rich foods into an overall healthy, balanced diet.
First start with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and then you
may be able to fit in an 80-calorie CocoaVia® Bar."

Yes, that’s a may be able to fit in an 80-calorie chocolate bar. And do you remember, that whole 100g packet of chocolate, from the research, was about 500 calories? So was the research an overkill on the amounts, or are these itsy-bitsy bars just not good enough? Interesting…

Oh, yes, and they managed to write flavanols throughout the entire press release, including the quotes from their chemist, who should really know better. Or was that just a marketing trick? Maybe their chocolates are poor in flavanoids, and this way they can deny claiming the opposite.

Hat tip to Nonliteral .

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