Posted by Brian on 25th December 2007 at 12:53 AM
Double-edged Sword of Chocolate
Before people indulge in eating dark chocolate this Christmas time thinking it benefits their health they should be aware of the downsides.
Many studies have shown that small portions of dark chocolate can benefit the heart as it is rich in flavanols.
Last month a report in the journal Circulation said chocolate with high flavanol levels improved coronary vascular function in 11 heart-transplant recipients compared with patients taking a cocoa-free control chocolate.
But despite the plus-sides to dark chocolate, an editorial in the Lancet journal today warns that not all types are beneficial and can be "deceptive".
"When chocolate manufacturers make confectionary the natural cocoa solids can be darkened and the flavanols, which are bitter, removed, so even a dark-looking chocolate can have no flavanol," the editorial states.
"Consumers are also kept in the dark about the flavanol content of chocolate because manufacturers rarely label their products with this information."
And while flavanols may benefit the heart, the fat, sugar and calories dark chocolate contains may counter that.
So while tucking into mince pies and chocolate it may be worth ensuring calories are dropped elsewhere, according to the editorial.
But in a festive spirit it concludes: "Of course some would say that, in terms of food intake, the best and simplest message would be to stay away from the chocolate and eat a healthy balanced diet, low in sugar, salt and fat, and full of fresh fruit and vegetables.
"We say, 'bah humbug to that – pass the chocolates'."
Due to problems with spam only SalfordOnline members can now leave comments. Becoming a member of SalfordOnline only takes a minute, just hit the red Join Us button at the top right hand side of the page to create your Personal account.
Got a news story? Need help with publicity for an event in Salford? Send it to email@example.com or call the SalfordOnline newsdesk on 0161 789 5377.