Dark chocolate for health anyone?
- javaandjazz Jan 22, 2008 12:05 PM
Just curious if any of you eat 1 oz of dark chocolate per day for your health and if so what brand and has your health improved at all? I read a few studies that recommended Dove dark chocolate just because the way they process it does not destroy the flavanoids. Thanks, Richie
Ah, I found it. Thanks javaandjazz.
I've read through this study and quite a few others. The research on that particular study was funded by Dove. (There are some others out of Europe that were funded by German chocolate companies and another that hasn't been published yet funded by Hershey's at Harvard.) Mostly the stuff that's good for you is terribly bitter (more evident in the Mars CocoaVia line).
Basically, you have to eat very dark chocolate.
However, as mentioned by Miss Needle, "Whatever flavanoids you will ingest will probably be offset by all the fat and sugar you consume." Cocoa butter in and of itself is neutral to your circulatory system (which is pretty rare in a fat) and has antioxidant properties that protect the nutritional profile of the chocolate itself.
Very dark chocolate actually doesn't have that much sugar in it. I have a bar of Guittard's Nocturne (91% cacao) right here. There are 150 calories in a 1 ounce portion (half the bar) - 140 of those calories are from the cocoa butter! (So the net carbs are super low!) But hey, it also has 3.5 grams of fiber and 2.5 grams of protein too. (Very low glycemic index there.)
Honestly, I wouldn't eat it specifically for the health benefits, but a little indulgence of a square a day along with a balanced diet can certainly be done. I'd certainly prefer it over a too-too-sweet cupcake.
Personally, I don't care much for Dove. I think if you're gonna have some good chocolate, have some good chocolate. (Of course eat what you like ... don't let a bunch of internet people make you eat something because they think it's "better.") I think the little tasting kits of single origins can be fun. Michel Cluizel, Guittard, Lake Champlain & Dagoba all have nice versions.
I would be very, very, very skeptical of any study that promotes a big name brand... that smells of grease money... and I know because I worked for a big ag company that has a very healthy juice on the market... and understand the ethical decisions behind sponsored studies. In any case... flavanoids aren't always destroyed by processing... in fact, processing often increases their concentration... wine is a good example of this.
In terms of health benefits... well I feel really good consuming dark chocolate... for me its a soul food that connects me with my ancestral past. If you want some lore.... my great grandfather who died at 85 kept a number of concubines throughout his life... including a 45 year old one in his last days... and the local lore credits his well known virility with daily consumption of fresh ground xocolatl =)
I think that these studies are probably funded by Dove (or companies linked to Dove). Whatever flavanoids you will ingest will probably be offset by all the fat and sugar you consume. And realistically there won't be too many people who can limit their chocolate intake to 1 ounce per day.
Anything in excess, no matter how good they sound, can be of detriment. You rarely hear of people condemning the wonder berry acai. I know three people who took acai extract every day for a few months and developed adverse symptoms such as night sweats and irritability only to have it stop when they discontinued it.
I saw something about processing can destroy some of these beneficial flavanoids. I believe purpose of the processing was to remove some objectionable bitter tastes (which just happen to be the flavanoids!). I haven't eaten Dove recently. How does it compare with other dark chocolates in taste? Smoother, sharper?