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NEWS: Dark Chocolate Isn’t “Healthy”

Dark Chocolate
Sorry, Charlie: You’re not “packed with healthy antioxidants.”
At last—a medical journal has come out with what THE NIBBLE has been claiming for the past two years: Dark chocolate is not “health food.” Contrary to all of the claims touting the “antioxidant benefits of chocolate,” The Lancet, published in the U.K. and one of the world’s most-respected medical journals, says that any health claims about plain chocolate may be misleading. Basic chocolate is naturally rich in flavanols, the antioxidants that are believed to protect the heart. But an editorial in the current issue of The Lancet points out that many manufacturers remove flavanols because of their bitter taste. Instead, most chocolate products deliver lots of fat and sugar, both of which negatively impact the heart and arteries.
The editorial advices that dark chocolate can be “deceptive.” When chocolate is manufactured, says the journal, the natural cocoa solids can be darkened and the flavanols, which are bitter, can be removed, so that a dark-looking chocolate can have no flavanols. Flavanol content is not part of the normal package labeling, so consumers have no way to judge; nor would they know what an effective level of flavanols is. And even if the chocolate were packed with flavanols, one would have to be mindful of the fat, sugar and calories.“To gain any health benefit,” the editorial concludes, “those who eat a moderate amount of flavanol-rich dark chocolate will have to balance the calories by reducing their intake of other foods.” Great—now you don’t have to take our word for it anymore. FYI, studies on the efficacy of cacao antioxidants tend to be conducted with flavanol-enhanced cocoa powder. But if you liked fine chocolate before it had any putative benefits, and you still want to enjoy the best, check out the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.




1 Comment

  1. Casey said,

    January 17, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

    Ha ha! Great that articles like this are starting to spring up. I’ll be writing about this issue on my chocolate blog also, and will reference this.

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