Category Archives: chocolate

Nutrition and chocolate – Tufts

I am a big chocolate lover, both mildly dark and milk chocolate. As I eat some every day, the following from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter interested me greatly.

chocolate with milted chocolate on white ceramic plate

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Q. You have suggested people eat chocolate to get the antioxidants and other “good stuff” that it contains. Do we get the same benefits if we eat chocolate in another form, such as chocolate milk, cake, or pudding?

A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist at Tufts’ Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Cocoa contains phytochemicals called flavanols that may have health benefits, but just because a little might be good, that does not mean a lot is better! Flavanols are part of the reason cocoa is so bitter. To make chocolate candy, many of the flavanols are stripped away, and the cocoa is mixed with sugar. Turning that chocolate into brownies or pudding or other chocolate products further dilutes out the flavanols. Hence, there is unlikely to be much actual cocoa or cocoa flavanols in a serving of these foods. In a recently reported large study, chocolate-candy intake was associated with greater likelihood of weight gain in postmenopausal women. Whether the weight gain was directly due to the chocolate cannot be determined at this time.”

“If you enjoy chocolate, identify the type you enjoy the most and don’t overdo it. If it’s healthful flavanols you’re after, there’s no need to eat chocolate or cocoa at all. They are also found in tea, wine, and fruits like apples, grapes, and pears. And remember, an ounce of dark chocolate a day (or a dose of any other purported ‘superfood’) cannot take the place of a balanced, healthful dietary pattern.”

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Filed under chocolate, chocolate cravings, dark chocolate

Why you should add raw cacao to your diet

I must confess I am late to the party in terms of raw cacao. That is strange as I love chocolate and don’t need much of an excuse to eat some. But, I actually came across raw cacao in one of the recent infographics on super foods that I ran right here on the blog. Turns out raw cacao is one of them. I bought mine from Terrasoul Superfoods on Amazon.

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Secrets of Longevity
says, “It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.

“Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.”

Now that you appetite has been whetted, how do you get this bitter, if wonderful, substance into your system? Here is a brief list: Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, dark chocolate, raw organic cacao

The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

In view of Valentine’s Day occurring tomorrow and tons of chocolate being consumed in honor of it, I thought it might be useful to get a taste of chocolate’s impact on our health.

Medical News Today says, “Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Valentines-RockyMountain.jpg

“However, ‘the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential.’
The potential benefits of eating chocolate may include:
▪ lowering cholesterol levels
▪ preventing cognitive decline
▪ reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, Valentine's Day

Trick or Treat – How Much Chocolate Do We Eat?

Since this is the biggest day for chocolate consumption in the year, I thought it might be interesting to check into it.

Do you know how much chocolate the average American eats in a year? One pound? Ten pounds?

As a matter of fact we eat an average of a pound of chocolate a month, so, by a process of rapid calculation, 12 pounds in a year.

chocolate

According to WebMD’s chocolate quiz “We each eat close to a dozen pounds of chocolate per year. And most of that is milk chocolate. More than 90 percent of Americans say they prefer milk chocolate over dark or white.

“It takes a long time to work off all that chocolate. It would take a 130-pound woman about four days and nights (95 hours) of brisk walking to burn off those calories!”

And I know you have heard that chocolate has caffeine in it, but how much? WebMD says,

“You’d need to eat 14 regular-sized (1.5 oz) bars of milk chocolate to get the same caffeine as you’d find in a 8-ounce cup of coffee! That would have about 3,000 calories and more than 300 grams of sugar — compared to only about two calories in black coffee.

“Dark chocolate does have more caffeine than milk chocolate. Even then, it would take four bars to give you the same buzz as one cup of regular Joe.”

So, enjoy the evening, but if you are going out with your little trick or treater, keep in mind how much walking is required to burn off those calories.

Tonya

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Filed under calorie counting, calories, chocolate, chocolate cravings, Exercise, exercise benefits, Halloween, trick or treat

Why chocolate is good for your gut – MNT

I am a chocolate lover. I have some every day of my life. Granted, what I consume are small quantities which I devour slowly and let simply melt in my mouth. I also know that dark chocolate has more benefits than the sweet milk chocolate of my childhood. Herewith, Medical News Today‘s take on the dark delight.

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Chocolate lovers, rejoice; the sweet treat is not only delicious, but studies show that it can also promote friendly bacteria and reduce inflammation in our guts. But first, some background: trillions of bacteria live in our guts. They contribute to our immune system, metabolism, and many other processes essential to human health.

When the delicate balance of microbes in our intestines is disturbed, it can have serious consequences.

Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, allergies, asthma, and cancer have all been linked to abnormal gut microbiomes.

A healthful diet supports bacterial diversity and health, but could chocolate be an integral part of this?

Benefits of cocoa

Cocoa is the dry, non-fatty component prepared from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and the ingredient that gives chocolate its characteristic taste. Continue reading

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Your brain on chocolate – Harvard

At the risk of repeating myself yet again, my family has a history of Alzheimer’s and dementia, so any info on brain health resonates deeply with me.

Here is Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications on chocolate and your brain.

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Did you know that places where chocolate consumption is highest have the most Nobel Prize recipients? It’s true, at least according to a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Of course, that could be a coincidence. But is it possible that intelligence or other measures of high brain function are actually improved by the consumption of chocolate? A new review summarizes the evidence and concludes with a resounding “maybe.”

Keeping your brain healthy

When it comes to preserving and improving brain function, let’s face it: we need all the help we can get. With age, diseases that cause dementia, such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, become more common. And since we have an aging population, predictions are that dementia will become much more common in the near future. Yet despite decades of research, there are no highly effective treatments for dementia. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, chocolate, Harvard Health Publications, Healthy brain

Chocolate may improve cognitive function within hours – Study

Here is some good news for chocolate lovers. Researchers have found that cocoa flavanols could boost cognitive function within just a few hours of consumption. Perhaps the best news is that elderly adults reaped the best benefits.

Additionally, researchers found that regular, long-term intake of cocoa flavanols may protect against cognitive decline.

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Writing in Medical News Today, Honor Whiteman reported flavanols are naturally occurring compounds found in various types of plants, with some of the highest levels found in the beans of the cocoa tree.

Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, chocolate, Medical News Today

Food and health cliches revisited – Wake Forest

An apple a day keeps the doctor away – I always liked that one. While apples boast many health benefits, they do not, sadly, bulletproof us against all diseases.

“Everything our parents said was good is bad,” complains Alvy Singer, the character played by Woody Allen in “Annie Hall,” his 1977 Oscar-winning romantic comedy.

Green-vegetables

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but when it comes to what certain foods can do to or for you, it’s probably best to take motherly advice, familiar sayings and other bits of conventional wisdom with a grain of salt.

“There’s some validity to some of them, but many of them are just old wives’ tales or myths that have trickled down over the years,” said Annette Frain, a registered dietitian at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Continue reading

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Filed under brain, brain health, carrots, carrots and better vision, chocolate

The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

Herewith my reminder from last year on Valentine’s Day Eve.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

In view of Valentine’s Day tomorrow and tons of chocolate being consumed in honor of it, I thought it might be useful to get a taste of chocolate’s impact on our health.

Medical News Today says, “Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Valentines-RockyMountain.jpg

“However, ‘the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential.’
The potential benefits of eating chocolate may include:
▪    lowering cholesterol levels
▪    preventing cognitive decline
▪    reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

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Filed under chocolate, Exercise, Valentine's Day, Weight, weight control

Can Walking Cut Chocolate Cravings?

A short, brisk walk can help to curb your cravings for cocoa, according to a study reported in LiveScience.

As a chocolate lover and avid bicycle rider, I manage my calories to include chocolate and still maintain my weight. If you are concerned about adding pounds, or inches, a brisk walk might be in order for you.

“Researchers at the University of Exeter had 25 regular chocolate eaters abstain from their favorite snack for three days. They were then assigned to either take a brisk 15-minute walk or to rest.

“The participants then performed tasks that would normally increase their chocolate jones, including a mental challenge and opening a chocolate bar. The walkers reported lower cravings both during the walk and for about 10 minutes afterward. They were also less likely to be tempted by unwrapping the candy bar,” LiveScience reported.
Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, chocolate cravings

The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

In view of Valentine’s Day tomorrow and tons of chocolate being consumed in honor of it, I thought it might be useful to get a taste of chocolate’s impact on our health.

Medical News Today says, “Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Valentines-RockyMountain.jpg

“However, ‘the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential.’
The potential benefits of eating chocolate may include:
▪    lowering cholesterol levels
▪    preventing cognitive decline
▪    reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, Valentine's Day

Why A Journalist Scammed The Media Into Spreading Bad Chocolate Science

In fact, that’s exactly what he did Wednesday, in a story for io9 that’s gone viral. Bohannon, a science journalist who also has a Ph.D., lays out how he carried out an elaborate hoax to expose just how easily bad nutrition science gets disseminated in the mainstream media.

As a journalist who still consumes financial, political and diet stories, this was particularly worthwhile. I know how hard legitimate journalists works to ‘get it right.’ Sadly, there are some folks who call themselves journalists who are anything but.

Kudos to Mr. Bohannon.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Earlier this spring, headlines around the world trumpeted an exciting bit of news that seemed too good to be true: “Eating chocolate … can even help you LOSE weight!” as Britain’s Daily Mail put it.

From India to Australia and Texas to Germany, news organizations shared findings published in the International Archives of Medicine in late March.

The problem? The study they were based on was pure junk. And the person behind it, John Bohannon, would be the first to tell you that.

In fact, that’s exactly what he did Wednesday, in a story for io9 that’s gone viral. Bohannon, a science journalist who also has a Ph.D., lays out how he carried out an elaborate hoax to expose just how easily bad nutrition science gets disseminated in the mainstream media.

Diet science, Bohannon stresses, is still science – and reporters need to know how to cover it. “You have…

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Why (and How) You Should Add Raw Cacao to Your Diet

I must confess I am late to the party in terms of raw cacao. That is strange as I love chocolate and don’t need much of an excuse to eat some. But, I actually came across raw cacao in one of the recent infographics on super foods that I ran right here on the blog. Turns out raw cacao is one of them. I bought mine from Terrasoul Superfoods on Amazon.


Secrets of Longevity
says, “It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.

“Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.”

7a

Now that you appetite has been whetted, how do you get this bitter, if wonderful, substance into your system? Here is a brief list: Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, raw organic cacao

6 Common Chocolate Myths, Busted

The information below is based on a one ounce serving of 70 percent dark chocolate or one tablespoon of cocoa powder. An ounce of dark chocolate is about a quarter cup, grated. That’s usually about 1/3 of a regular-sized chocolate bar.

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Our Better Health

Becky Striepe     November 4, 2014

From fat content to acne to your sex drive, there are some big claims out there about chocolate. Check out these common chocolate myths and the truth about chocolate.

When it comes to chocolate and health, the trick isn’t avoiding chocolate altogether. It’s making smart choices. Sure, if you eat a whole Hershey’s bar, you’re not doing your health any favors. But a few squares of good, dark chocolate can actually be beneficial. You can also add 1-3 teaspoons of cocoa powder to a smoothie recipe to instantly transform it into a healthy, chocolatey treat. The sugars from the fruit will offset the cocoa powder’s bitterness. Start with a teaspoon, taste, and add more until you get just the right balance.

The information below is based on a one ounce serving of 70 percent dark chocolate or one tablespoon of cocoa powder. An…

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Resveratrol in Red Wine, Chocolate, Grapes Not Associated with Improved Health

Because few people in the Chianti region take supplements, the study’s lead author, Dr. Richard Semba of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says the population provided a good way to study exactly what effect average amounts of resveratrol, found in a typical western diet, could have on health. “We expected to find at least something. But in regard to every single outcome, the results were negative,” he says of the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Regardless of how much resveratrol, measured by its breakdown product in the urine, the participants had, their rates of heart disease, cancer, and early death were the same.

Cooking with Kathy Man

The compound, which has been linked to longevity, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, may not be such a wonder agent after all

Sometimes, health experts make it easy for us. Drink moderate amounts of red wine! Eat grapes and chocolate! That’s a diet most of us can get behind. But exactly why these things are good for us can get lost in the headlines. Also confusing is the fact that just because a food contains a certain nutrient or antioxidant does not mean that nutrient is present in any therapeutic amount in a single serving of a food. Take resveratrol, a hyped antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes that has been called a fountain of youth. That’s great news for wine lovers, right?

Not so fast. Resveratrol is a polyphenol, part of the good-for-you family of antioxidants that fight cellular aging and tamp down inflammation. Antioxidants…

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Sugar Overpowers Fat in Cravings Test

As a person who has battled his belt line over the years, I have overindulged in sweet treats like ice cream as well as fat treats like pizza. I know that each felt compelling at the time, but it turns out that sugar has more powerful impact on the brain’s pleasure centers than fat, according to a recent study published in the US National Library of Medicine.

Hostess Ho Ho's

Hostess Ho Ho’s

The New York Times picked it up and explained that it is the sugar and not the fat that primarily triggers the brain’s receptors.

“The new research tracked brain activity in more than 100 high school students as they drank chocolate-flavored milkshakes that were identical in calories but either high in sugar and low in fat, or vice versa. While both kinds of shakes lit up pleasure centers in the brain, those that were high in sugar did so far more effectively, firing up a food-reward network that plays a role in compulsive eating. Continue reading

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Filed under body fat, calories, chocolate, eating, fast food, fat, junk food, sugar, Weight, weight control, weight loss