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Are you a Chocoholic? — an article on the Smart Living Network
August 30, 2011 at 5:34 AMComments: 13 Faves: 0

Are you a Chocoholic?

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Good News for Chocoholics  

Here we go again!  Researchers at the University of Cambridge recently reported that “regular consumption of chocolate may slash the risk of developing heart disease by a third.”  For years studies have pointed at the positive link between eating chocolate and heart health.  Cambridge Drs analyzed the results of seven previous studies involving over 100,000 people with and without heart disease.  They specifically looked at the effects of eating chocolate on heart attacks and strokes.  

Five of the seven studies indicated a beneficial link between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events.  Their findings:

  • the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease
  • a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels
  • no significant reduction was found in relation to heart failure

The studies did not differentiate between dark or milk chocolate and included chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts.  Dark chocolate reportedly contains compounds good for the blood system.

But…. and there is always a But…… chocolates should be taken "with caution" and we should be careful which chocolate we eat.  Commercially available chocolates are high in calories - around 500 calories for every 100 grams and eating too much can lead to weight gain and put you at risk of diabetes and heart disease

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13 Comments

  • Great news! I'll take any excuse to eat chocolate anyway, but this is even better :)

    I think the key, as with just about any food, is portion control. I love dark chocolate, but it's so rich I usually can't eat a lot of it. My boyfriend brought back some chocolate from Barcelona for me, and I still have a piece left - and that was two months ago! If you limit yourself to a small piece, but make sure to really savor it, you'll feel like you're eating more - even though it's just a small piece - but still reap the healthy benefits :)

  • Honestly, I prefer dark chocolate anyway! I've never been a big "sweets person" so milk chocolate can be too sweet for my liking. I like trying different varieties of dark chocolate - one of my favorites has chili pepper in it. Sounds kinda funky, but it tastes really good!

    I wonder how much they had the study participants taking for a heart benefit....

  • I tried Chocolate that has Chili peppers. At first i thought it would be weird. But it turn out to be really good.

  • I've never tried having a piece of chocolate with chili peppers, but I have had spicy hot chocolate, and it's awesome! I can't wait for the weather to cool down a little so my favorite coffee shop will start carrying it again :)

  • Best news of the day!!! Thanks for making everyone's day a little better Beryl.

  • It seems like I always go towards the chocolate that is not so good for me, and I have to agree with Laura it is about portion control! I do enjoy chocolate once in a while, I will have to try the dark instead of going towards the milk chocolate!!

  • I agree with Laura and Julie. Portion control is key. A little bit of chocolate goes a long way. This post made my day. Thanks, Beryl. I always heard people talk about how chocolate can be healthy for you. But having a study to back it up proves it's not a myth.

  • So.... do I bring Chocolate in this afternoon? If so, Milk Chocolate or Dark?

  • Well in case anyone is paying attention Beryl did indeed give us a treat with the chocolates today. One bag of Dove milk chocolates and one bag of Dove dark chocolate. I broke down and had one of each. Who doesn't need a small piece of chocolate after eating a good lunch? It seems to be a strong craving for me after lunch on most days. Just at lunch time not at dinner time. Why do people crave chocolate anyway? Thanks for the treat Beryl.

  • This is an article I found indicating why we crave chocolate. (AP - 2007) If that craving for chocolate sometimes feels like it is coming from deep in your gut, that is because maybe it is.

    A small study links the type of bacteria living in people's digestive system to a desire for chocolate. Everyone has a vast community of microbes in their guts. But people who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate's allure.

    That may be the case for other foods, too. The idea could eventually lead to treating some types of obesity by changing the composition of the trillions of bacteria occupying the intestines and stomach, said Sunil Kochhar, co-author of the study. It appears Friday in the peer-reviewed Journal of Proteome Research.

    Kochhar is in charge of metabolism research at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. The food conglomerate Nestle SA paid for the study. But this is not part of an effort to convert a few to the dark side (or even milk) side of cocoa, Kocchar said.

    In fact, the study was delayed because it took a year for the researchers to find 11 men who do not eat chocolate.

    Kochhar compared the blood and urine of those 11 men, who he jokingly called "weird" for their indifference to chocolate, to 11 similar men who ate chocolate daily. They were all healthy, not obese, and were fed the same food for five days.

    The researchers examined the byproducts of metabolism in their blood and urine and found that a dozen substances were significantly different between the two groups. For example, the amino acid glycine was higher in chocolate lovers, while taurine (an active ingredient in energy drinks) was higher in people who did not eat chocolate. Also chocolate lovers had lower levels of the bad cholesterol, LDL.

    The levels of several of the specific substances that were different in the two groups are known to be linked to different types of bacteria, Kochhar said.

    Still to be determined is if the bacteria cause the craving, or if early in life people's diets changed the bacteria, which then reinforced food choices.

    How gut bacteria affect people is a hot field of scientific research.

  • If it's chocolate I like it. My favorite cake: chocolate(with vanilla frosting!). My favorite shake: chocolate. Pretty sure I ate a chocolate Zinger last night for dessert....couldn't resist. If you're into craft beer try a chocolate stout sometime....you can't go wrong with that. Seriously though I don't overdo it, I just get that itch once in a while for some Schokolade!

  • I agree with you, Jim. You definitely can't go wrong with a chocolate stout beer. And the ones labeled "double chocolate stout" watch out! Those are even more chocolatey. I am not sure if a chocolate stout a day is that same as glass of wine a day. I know wine has antioxidants and if chocolate does too, then maybe? ...Time to research.

  • I'm not usually a chocolate fan, but chocolate stout is amazing! I found this recipe that has some great reviews...

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Stout-Cake-107105

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