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Chocolate A Health Food

In this article we're going to discuss the health benefits of chocolate, if indeed there are any at all. Let's be honest. If you're a normal person you love chocolate. Otherwise the industry itself wouldn't be so profitable. How many of us didn't like to chow down for a snack of Oreo cookies and milk or just a big hot fudge sundae at the local ice cream shop? Of course there is always the nice big piece of seven layer cake with that thick chocolate icing. The list of things chocolate goes on and on and with that list also goes all the health warnings of how chocolate is bad for you.

But is it? Health warnings and benefits, for the most part, need to be taken with a grain of salt only because it seems that what was bad for you ten years ago suddenly has health benefits we knew nothing about, and things that we were told to eat when we were children all of sudden cause problems we didn't even know existed years ago. So, is chocolate one of those things? Well, the latest information about chocolate, most recently reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was that chocolate, when added to an already healthy diet, provided antioxidant benefits and actually increased a person's high density lipoprotein (HDL), or what is called "good cholesterol." One of the antioxidant benefits was that it impedes the oxidation of the "bad cholesterol." What most people don't know is that the study was made on only twenty-three subjects which is nowhere near a large enough sample to draw any conclusions from. Also, when taking a very close look at the article itself, it clearly states that the benefits were small at best.

It also went on to say that because the differences in the numbers were so small, it would need to be determined if these differences were significant enough to produce an improvement in health that could be measured. Many experts say that the study was over-hyped because of possible ties to manufacturers in the chocolate industry itself. And while no wrong doing was ever proven, the suspicions still grew. Defenders of the cocoa bean itself argued that it is commonly known that many substances we don't normally associate with good health have antioxidant benefits, such as tea, so why not chocolate? What the study didn't mention was all the things that chocolate has that are certainly not good for you.

For example, chocolate as a high level of stearic acid, which is a saturated fat. Saturated fats are directly related to high cholesterol levels and increased risk of coronary artery disease and coronary death. Chocolate supporters say that stearic acid is not like other saturated fats. Yet, a study of 80,000 women over the age of 14 who all ate large amounts of chocolate, showed that these women had a much greater chance of heart disease. No doubt the battle over how healthy or not healthy chocolate is for a person will go on.

And while it does, we will continue to eat our Oreo cookies and seven layer chocolate cakes. Isn't life wonderful? .

By: Michael Russell


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