Chocolate Isn't the Magic Pill It's Cracked Up to Be

ChocolateDid you hear the latest about the miracle cure that is chocolate? Apparently women who eat a fair amount of it -- especially dark chocolate -- have a lower risk of stroke than women who don't.

Don't you just love studies like this? The ones that justify all our worst habits? Lately, scientists have given us reason to drink both wine and coffee -- regularly, no less -- and even skip our multivitamins.

This one brings thoughts of breakfasting on a dark chocolate croissant, sipping on a mug of hot cocoa, and lunching on a dark-chocolate-bar sandwich (hold the bread!) with some chocolate chips on the side. And for dinner ... hmmm ... what would be for dinner? I dunno, how about just a big hunk of chocolate? (If you're nice, I'll give you a piece.) Because after all, researchers insist that eating lots of chocolate is good for you.

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Appealing as these reports may be, it's best to take them with a big grain of salt. (Salty chocolate? Sounds interesting.)

Often they are funded by the very companies that stand to gain something from them: Chocolate companies underwriting cocoa studies, for example, or coffee growers sponsoring studies showing the health benefits of caffeine consumption. The Hershey-funded study released few months back that found chocolate was better for you than fruit was a particularly brazen and almost comically self-serving example.

Also, let's not forget, as we load our plates with rich, cocoa-dusted bonbons (anyone else getting hungry?), that chocolate is full of fat and sugar, which can contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and other maladies. Sorry for the buzz kill, but we all know the effects of a limitless chocolate pig-out -- and if we forget, our bathroom scales are only too happy to remind us.

On the other hand, even if we can't go around eating chocolate as a main dish at every meal and expecting ourselves to be suddenly much healthier (and stroke-free!), perhaps we can allow ourselves a nice guilt-free morsel now and then. That wouldn't be so bad, would it?

Do you think you'll eat more chocolate as a result of this study?

 

Image via oskay/Flickr

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