Health Blog

So should I eat chocolate or not?

I was just noshing on a bit of health food – a dark chocolate bar – when I read that my sweet snack may not be as good for me […]

January 23, 2008

I was just noshing on a bit of health food – a dark chocolate bar – when I read that my sweet snack may not be as good for me as once thought.

Last month, an editorial in the British medical journal Lancet warned that while nutrients in dark chocolate can improve cardiovascular health, manufacturers often remove the heart-healthy chemicals. The bitter taste of flavanols, antioxidants that have been linked to protection against heart disease, has led many companies to remove them during the chocolate-production process.

Just in case you were thinking of checking the label for flavanols in your chocolate bar, manufacturers rarely include that information, according to the editorial. And the Lancet emphasized that even with the flavanols, dark chocolate is no substitute for other heart-healthy foods: “The devil in the dark chocolate is the fat, sugar and calories it also contains.”

Another strike against chocolate came this month in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which linked frequent chocolate consumption to decreased bone density and strength in older women. After testing 1,001 women aged 70 to 85, researchers found that those who ate chocolate less than once a week had significantly stronger bones than those who consumed chocolate daily. The Australian researchers listed oxalate, sugar and cocoa as ingredients in chocolate that may prevent the body from utilizing calcium to strengthen bones.

How am I supposed to decide what to eat when scientists keep changing their minds on whether certain foods are good for me? It seems that foods are like stocks, with nutritional value going up and down as new research comes out highlighting health benefits and dangers. Based on these studies, I suppose dark chocolate has fallen to a new 52-week low.

But take solace in the fact that the stock of another guilty pleasure is on the rise: I’m heading to the pub for an anti-cancer beer.

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Rosemary says:

Hi Andrew,
Your right about the “select” choice in words when it comes to promoting something like the health benefits in Chocolate. Referennce to flavinols, nutrients and antioxidants in products are usually based on the raw product before manufacturing. It’s in the manufacturing of the product that these values are reduced (heat kills). There is only one company I know who actually produces “Healthy” Chocolate and measures these values AFTER production. They use a patented cold-processing technology, use Acai berries as a sweetener (another high antioxidant food) without the wax, additives and fats that we want to avoid. Most of their products are Diabetic friendly, Vegan, Vegetarian, Heart Healthy and Kosher stamped but best of all … it’s delicious and you can “nash” without the guilt. I would be happy to send you more information if you are interested. Rosemary

Kandi says:

I appreciate your article – but wanted to tell you there IS a Healthy Chocolate on the market, and it is called Xocai (show sigh). It is high in ORAC and flavanols (measured by Brunswick laboratories and carries their seal of approval) Made from raw cacao and acai for sweetening, this gourmet chocolate is never heated, so it retains 100% of its nutrient and antioxidant values; safe for diabetics, children, everyone! It has no preservatives, waxes, fillers, sugars, etc.
For more info, check out or send me an email @
Have a wonderful, chocolate kind of day!

Terri says:

It’s good to see that the difference is being made between healthy and non-healthy chocolate. And like my previous chocolate loving comrades have stated, Xocai is the only one out there that’s widely available and diabetic safe. Our chocolate will soon boast on it’s label the mg of flavanoids, alongside the already present heart healthy seal from Brunswick Lab and ORAC content. Check out the company and the science at, then contact us with any other questions you might have.

Jason says:

You just opened the door to the chocolate cult.

These xocai people are certified whack-jobs.

It is some direct marketing scheme and you are going to be hounded to buy into it.

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