Healthy Chocolate Myths
Once, when I was conducting a diet support group, a woman attending introduced me to the Xocai Chocolate Diet. Like most people, I like eating a good piece of chocolate. She gave me one of her chocolates to try. For only $100 a month I could get a supply of these tiny pieces of chocolate to eat three times a day. I ate the sample she gave me and thought, "You would have to pay me $100 a month to eat these three times a day." In fact, if I had to eat that nasty chocolate three times a day, I would rather be fat!
It got me to thinking. The next time I had a piece of chocolate, I thought, "Am I--are women--really crazy about chocolate, or is it just good marketing that put us in this frame of mind?" I came to the conclusion that it was several things: marketing, sugar addiction, and our excuse to eat something that tastes good but is bad for us.
The story of chocolate started a lot like the story of meat. Both were only available to the rich in Europe, so they both became a symbol of opulence. Consequently, poor people were envious and began to consume these products like the rich, as soon as they were able. The status of both meat and chocolate has not changed. People often say they are going out to celebrate by getting a nice, big steak. A taste test done at GMA recently showed that people could not tell the difference between Hershey's chocolate and a more expensive brand. Still, we value the more expensive brand. Godiva sells for $45 a pound and more.
Hot Chocolate Beverages
My sister called me one day to tell me she heard that chocolate is healthy. I said, "Let me assure you. Chocolate, coffee, sugar, and alcohol are not healthy foods. They were not healthy yesterday, they aren't healthy today, and, they won't be healthy tomorrow."
I love when I read things like, "Researchers have recently discovered that drinking a cup of hot chocolate before meals diminishes appetite." Drinking a cup of hot coffee, tea, apple cider, soup, or a cup of hot anything diminishes the appetite.
Another good one is that there are 'antioxidants in chocolate that make it healthy.' According to the USDA, researchers have said an excellent source of antioxidents are fruit, nuts, and vegetables. That makes one think that anything grown would be a good source of antioxidants. Right?
Nutrition in the Almonds
Here is the problem in our society. We have decided to take whole foods and break them down into their component parts. When we eat oranges, for instance, we say we are eating them for the Vitamin C. In truth, the orange is a healthy, nourishing food with natural vitamins, sugar, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. All of the orange is healthy. If there is anything unhealthy about it, it is minuscule.
We cannot say the same thing about chocolate or many, many other harmful foods that we consume. When we hear about the health benefits of coffee or sugar or chocolate or wine or ice cream or potato chips, these 'health benefits' are minuscule compared to the total lack of health benefit, in fact, harmfulness of most of that food. It is like saying the chocolate cupcake is healthy because of the health benefits of the three almonds stuck in the top!
Dispelling the Idea of Healthy Chocolate
I once saw Martha Stewart making chocolate candy when the reality of what is in candy hit me. Sure, we read the ingredients on the labels, but actually seeing all of that fat and sugar and chocolate going into making those bon bons--what an eye opener!
Two fun effects from eating chocolate are obesity (from empty calories that leave us hungry) and acne. I get extreme headaches from dark chocolate. The main ingredient in chocolate is theobromine which can kill your pets.
Chocolate is bitter and requires a great deal of sugar to make it taste good. Large amounts of refined sugar play havoc on our bodies. When we put sugar in anything, it tastes good to us because we are designed to like the sweetness of our mother's milk and fresh fruit. Try drinking an unsweetened soda or jello or chocolate.
The Magic Elixir of Chocolate
The Myth of Health
Life is like a box of chocolates, full of nuts. Super food guru, David Wolfe, Sunfood Diet author, reminds me of the Medicine Man of the Wild West selling his magic elixir. Every time some health benefit can be attributed to a food source to his benefit, he pushes it: like raw chocolate.
It would be nice to hear healthy chocolate claims from people who don't have a financial interest in it. I heard a promoter on one video saying that research had shown no death rates rose from eating chocolate twice a week (so, three a week and we die?). "Healthy" chocolate is promoted by producers of cold pressed chocolate. It sounds good, but how healthy can chocolate be?
The promoter mentioned thousands of studies done by legitimate institutions like Harvard, some with positive benefits of chocolate. My question is why were thousands of studies done on chocolate? Who paid for them? Universities don't do independent research anymore. So, why thousands of studies on chocolate? It is not a disease that needs to be cured? My guess is that big money wanted positive results to tote to the public--anything!
Carob is sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate because it has a similar look and texture. It is too bad we have not gotten ourselves hooked on that taste. Carob is naturally sweet. I made a raw pudding several times with carob, and at first it didn't appeal to me. But, like anything, the taste grew on me (a kind of caramel flavor), and now I prefer that taste.
Healthy chocolate myths make unhealthy chocolate appear to be a healthy food option. If you are going to eat chocolate, at least eat it in moderation, covering a fresh fruit like strawberries.
Was this article helpful to you?
- Unhealthy Sugar. We all love our sweets, and, fortunately, there are lots of options for healthy or healthier sweetened foods. Find out a few facts about how sugar affects our lives, especially nutrient-void sugar.
- Healthy Snacks for Children. What parent or teacher wouldn't love to see their children enjoy healthier snacks. In fact, these snacks are great for adult snackers, too.
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