Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Latest Food Deception

You've seen all the bruhaha of late..."Chocolate is beneficial to our diet"....right? Food gurus all over the place are now espousing claims that it has become now a magical treat because of its health and wellness benefits which can affect our body and mood in the most profound ways. We heard in the news that dark chocolate has super antioxidant powers and that cacao, the source of chocolate has also antibacterial agents that may reduce tooth decay. Reports go further to say that the smell of chocolate can actually increase brain waves and help relax the body, and maybe those were some of the reasons why cacao and chocolates are now being used in the upscale spas and beauty salons for body scrubs....blah...blah....blah.....

What these news reports are NOT telling you is that the main health benefits come from the raw cocoa powder BEFORE it is infused with all that refined white sugar.

Dark chocolate -- not white chocolate and not milk chocolate -- lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

But that's no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure -- if you've reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.

Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate -- but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk -- is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.

"Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate ... and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate."

Translation: Say "Dark, please," when ordering at the chocolate counter. Don't even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating chocolate, remember the word "moderate" as you nibble.

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