For ages, we’ve been told numerous times to our faces that chocolate’s an utter atrocity, that it’s a sugar-laden snack that serves to do nothing but expand our waistlines and throw in a few critical medical conditions.
“Avoid chocolate if you want a six-pack,” said Dike Chang, former trainer at SixPackShortcuts.
“Throw that vile entity away as soon as you see it!” screamed Batman.
You know, the usual health advice.
But here’s the thing. Is chocolate truly as vile as we make it out to be?
Or is it simply a misunderstood entity in the vein of Professor Severus Snape, who may actually do us more good than harm?
Well, the simple answer is no, chocolate is not as vile as we proclaim it to be.
In fact, it may even prove beneficial in the right amounts.
Study Finds That Eating Chocolate Once A Week Can Lower Risk of Heart Disease; Recommended by Heart Doctor
According to a meta study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, consuming chocolate once a week is actually linked to a decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
For those worried about the thinness of the sample size and whether test participants were simply world-class athletes who can do with a little chocolate, don’t be. In fact, the study is said to have been conducted over the last 50 years with more than 330,000 participants.
So as far as reliability goes, it’s quite up there, so to speak.
According to the study, those who consumed chocolate at least once a week had a supposed 8 per cent reduction in risk of getting coronary artery disease, as compared to those who had it less often.
And the magical source supporting such a startling revelation? Cocoa.
According to reports, cocoa contains several heart-healthy compounds such as the antioxidant flavonoids, healthy fat, theobromine and caffeine.
For the record, flavonoids are really efficient in combating diseases.
In addition, it also includes essential minerals such as potassium, copper, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.
Cocoa is even said to be beneficial to the brain, with studies linking it to enhanced cognition function, learning and even reduced stress.
Which Begets The Question;
Why, then, does chocolate command such a bad reputation in the dietary field?
Well, the simple answer is that cocoa is more often than not accompanied by less-healthy material.
In the consumer’s market, taste is just about everything. If you’ve ever had just cocoa itself, you’ll realise that it’s bitter.
Endlessly bitter, like my Aunt Matilda after losing a game of darts to her pet cat Tom.
So, cocoa is frequently mixed in with market-trendy ingredients such as sugar and fat – material that undeniably tastes great but could prove adverse to your own heart health.
Also, cocoa is regularly treated with alkaline to reduce bitterness: a notion that could cut out as much as 60 per cent in flavanol content.
So with all due respect, it’s no wonder why chocolate is largely regarded as a reviled snack, especially in the eyes of fitness buffs who spend eight days a week in the gym.
Which Chocolates, Then, Are Alright?
From the looks of it, darker chocolate may just survive the whole health vs taste war. As Dr MacDonald put it: