Chocolate’s Hot Debate

News for Chocolate Lovers is a Mixed Batch

cup.jpgFirst the good news:
Dark chocolate has been found to have more flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas! In fact, dark chocolate has four times more flavoniods than tea. Dark chocolate has been found to have more flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas! In fact, dark chocolate has four times more flavoniods than tea.

Can you guess what hot drink Angel is wishing for?…Hot Cocoa
angelcoat.jpgStudies suggest eating chocolate with at least a 70 percent cocoa content, in moderation, can be beneficial in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet. If you eat chocolate, only eat DARK chocolate. Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties, which may actually help to protect the body from damaging oxidative stress.

Chocolate is derived from plants, as are fruits and vegetables. Flavoniods are plant pigments, which have antioxidant activity with health promoting benefits: they have anti-allergic, anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.

Dark chocolate is far better than milk chocolate, as some say adding milk cancels out the chocolate’s antioxidant effects. However, just because chocolate is dark, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. Are you ready for the not so good news?

Even though chocolate contains flavonols and calcium, both said to have a positive effect on bone density, chocolate also contains oxalate, an inhibitor of calcium absorption, and sugar, linked to calcium excretion. Oxalate is a naturally occurring compound, which in large amounts may inhibit absorption of calcium. They occur in many plants, especially greens like spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, rhubarb, and the cocoa bean.

This is disappointing news for those of us who love chocolate. Some research suggests that regular consumption of chocolate may weaken bone density. This could increase the risk of health problems, especially for women, such as osteoporosis and fracture.

According to a study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who eat chocolate daily have an overall bone density about 3 percent lower than those who consume it less than once a week.

The study found that women, who ate chocolate less than once a week, had significantly stronger bones than those who consumed the treat on a daily basis, with calcium supplementation having little effect on the results. Additional studies are needed to confirm these observations.

In fact, another study from the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, contradicted these findings. They said the body absorbs calcium just as well from chocolate milk as it does from unflavored milk. Because, milk contains much more calcium than oxalate so there’s plenty of free calcium left over. Only 6 milligrams of calcium is tied up, out of the 250 milligrams in a glass of milk.

These studies manage to really confuse the chocolate issue, don’t you think? One study links chocolate to weaker bones, another says the body absorbs calcium with chocolate just fine. There’s a lot were not told. What type of chocolate was eaten in each of the studies? How much did sugar compromise the results concerning weaker bones?

Chocolate Lovers Should Be the Healthiest People on the Planet

Did you know each person eats approximately 11½ pounds of chocolate in a year? Of course, real choco-halics eat more. Although chocolate-lovers often quote the study finding flavonoids in chocolate to be heart-healthy; they often ignore the fact that they may be eating inferior chocolate and sugar, which destroys the very benefit they’re hoping for. They also ignore the part about moderation, a healthy diet, and exercise.

Most cocoa is processed in ways destroying the majority of the beneficial flavanoids. Consumers are generally unaware that standard manufacturing removes as much as half the flavonols. But, you can safely assume all milk and white chocolate do not have these beneficial nutrients.

While the verdict may be out on chocolate, we know sugar is detrimental to health. Chocolate, even if it’s dark, it still contains sugar, and eating sugar compromises your immune system. A good rule of thumb is to eat dark chocolate occasionally and only eat it if you’re healthy.

CLICK HERE for sugar information.

For more information about Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, CLICK HERE

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