Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Is Chocolate Really a Health Food?

You’ve no doubt heard of studies showing the health benefits of chocolate. It can make you smarter, reduces blood pressure, and more. But a recent editorial at the Lancet tries to keep chocolate off the health food shelf at the supermarket.

I would link directly to the article, but you have to have a subscription or something to see it, so you can
read about the article at the NY Times.

At the Times, we learn that the Lancet points out, “the very thing that makes chocolate good for you -- the antioxidants called flavanols -- also make chocolate taste bitter.” Therefore, candy makers pull most of the flavanols out of milk chocolate and all of them out of white chocolate.

But where in any of the recent studies has anyone said anything about eating a regular Hershey’s milk chocolate bar to lower blood pressure? It’s always been about eating dark chocolate. And in moderation, of course. We get that chocolate is high in calories and fat. And it’s not a substitute for doing some sit-ups and taking a jog.

Also described in the NY Times piece, a new study shows “measurable improvements in blood flow and vascular function and less clotting” among heart patients taking dark chocolate.

Pound360 isn’t pulling dark chocolate from the menu anytime soon.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.