Chocolate. Even the word brings happy thoughts. But society has attached some incorrect negative connotations to the word and has strayed away from the idea that dark chocolate is good for you.
First of all, let’s clarify that we are talking about DARK chocolate here, not the dreaded milk chocoate that contains dairy and no cacao. Cacao is the bean that we use to make dark chocolate and cocoa and the research on how protective this bean is to our health is strong.
In general, the higher the cacao content, the more bitter the product but the stronger the health benefits to your heart and brain. Straight up cacao (which I use in my mochas at the office) has a definite bitter taste. When we buy chocolate bars, we make sure they’re high cacao content sweetened with pomegrante, boysenberry or blueberries, which balances out the bitterness.
Back to the largest concern that most people have with chocolate consumption: it’s going to lead to weight gain. I just heard this concern from a participant at a class I was teaching this week on prediabetes and dementia. Luckily, I had just flagged this particular article to answer this concern effectively.
Researchers looked at the relationship between chocolate consumption and weight gain in 1458 European teens. Overall, those who had higher chocolate consumption had lower body weight and abdominal obesity. Pretty cool news.
“Higher consumption” is a little vague. Personally, I have no issues with a square or two of dark chocolate per day, a teaspoon of powdered cacao in my mocha or some dark chocolate with mixed raw nuts as a snack on a daily basis.
I had written an article on the potential benefits of dark chocolate over drugs to lower cholesterol in those with high cholesterol levels that can be read by clicking here. In the study referenced, the authors were suggesting some 100 grams of dark chocolate daily. For those of you not familiar with how heavy the typical bar of chocolate is, it’s under 100 grams. Again, pretty cool…