Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

What is it good for? Part Two: Chocolate

Last week I left you with the idea that wine is in fact good for you. But what about chocolate?

Chocolate. What is it good for?

Chocolate, like wine, has been discussed as a booster for one’s health. Dark chocolate is especially accredited with health benefits such as decreasing blood pressure. To be completely honest though, I just enjoy chocolate on that special level of “I’m sad so I’m going to eat chocolate.” I know I’m not the only one who does this too. However, is chocolate actually creating mental health problems, rather than providing health benefits? At the end of the day, what is chocolate good for?

 

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What benefits?

Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, has been associated with several health benefits. These benefits include a short term reduction in blood pressure, serum cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity, with long term benefits being linked to lower occurrence of cardiovascular disease. (Balboa-Castillo et al, 2015) There are plenty more suggested health benefits that chocolate can have. If you want to have a look at some of the other possible benefits of chocolate, please visit this website.

 

Does science support this?

Not dissimilar to wine, the science behind chocolate is actually very supportive of the proposed health benefits. Also not dissimilar to wine, it is the flavanols and flavanoids in chocolate that make chocolate good for us. Specifically, it is the flavanoids in chocolate that are helping us prevent disease. The flavanoids in chocolate are just like the flavanoids discussed last week in wine; they are antioxidants. These antioxidants are stated as what reduces blood pressure in us and what provides the benefits to combat cardiovascular disease. (Şentürk et al, 2015) So it could be said that chocolate is indeed very good for us.

However, there is a shadow on these benefits. Chocolate, particularly the non pure kind, is of course linked to diabetes and obesity. In addition, there is also concern of the possible part that chocolate plays in mental health. According to a research article undertaking by the Department of Public Health in Chile, there are few studies that have explored this area of chocolate, with conflicting results from the experiments. (Balboa-Castillo et al, 2015) Though there is no substantial proof that chocolate can cause mental health issues, there needs to be more studies and experiments undertaken to completely support this claim. If you want to know more about this study, a link to the Department of Health paper can be found here.

 

Implications?

Much like wine, on a social level I believe the science of chocolate is not really going to effect how many people buy it. People eat chocolate for all sorts of reasons, for me it’s especially when I’m sad or when I’m studying (like right now). I believe this will continue.

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Conclusion

Chocolate will always be a special treat to me. And maybe that’s what it should continue to be. Though there is science to suggest that chocolate is in fact very good for us, chocolate is also linked to diabetes and obesity. It should also be noted that there is concern that chocolate is not beneficial for us on a mental level. Perhaps then chocolate is not very good for us.

 

References

Balboa-Castillo, T, López-García, E, León-Muñoz, LM, Pérez-Tasigchana, RF, Banegas, JR, Rodríguez-Artalejo, F, & Guallar-Castillón, P 2015, ‘Chocolate and health-related quality of life: a prospective study’, Plos One, vol. 10, no. 4, p. e0123161. Available from: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123161. 17 April 2016

Şentürk, T, & Günay, Ş 2015, ‘The mysterious light of dark chocolate’, Türk Kardiyoloji Derneği Arşivi: Türk Kardiyoloji Derneğinin Yayın Organıdır, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 199-207. Available from: 10.5543/tkda.2015.70360. 17 April 2016

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2 comments on “What is it good for? Part Two: Chocolate

  1. bimalig
    April 19, 2016

    Love the series especially this one, it caught my eye!
    It’s good to learn about the benefits and disadvantages of eating chocolate. It helps that both topics you have used are of interest to people in university but this can be beneficial to anyone of any age. The layout is really nice with some good links but one improvement could be the possible use of more graphics and another may be going into more detail on the scientific factors such as how chocolate is a prebiotic as discussed in this website https://www.bulletproofexec.com/is-chocolate-good-for-you-health-benefits/ other than that, really good blogpost that was enjoyable to read.

    Like

  2. paigerigby
    April 21, 2016

    A bit indecisive with the conclusion there? Yes, purer cocoa chocolates have strong links and evidence for many health benefits, but ‘binge’ chocolate associated with obesity is different.

    With dark chocolate having cocoa in the high 70-80% range, which is the desired amount for antioxidant and phytochemical levels to actually have health benefits. Where the range of milk chocolate is only 20-30% cocoa present, with more sugar, milk and fat present than cocoa in this types of chocolate.

    That is where eating ‘binge’ chocolate increases the risk of adverse health issues.

    Research has even found that the milk in milk chocolate as the potential to prevent the absorption of antioxidants, removing any health benefit.

    Just highlighting that it’s the different concentrations of cocoa present in different chocolate that really affects health benefits and that milk and white chocolate has no health benefit at all.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v424/n6952/full/4241013a.html

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 18, 2016 by in Burwood - Wednesday 12pm.

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