Zak's Chocolate News & Blog

No Caffeine, but a mood lifter

Top 5 Chocolate Myths

Author: Jim/Thursday, May 7, 2015/Categories: Chocolate Stuff


In the five years since I’ve launched Exotic Chocolate Tasting, there is always a conversation that begins  “I have to watch my weight”, “‘I’m a diabetic”, “I can’t have chocolate because of the caffeine” “I have gluten issues,” and “I’m a Vegan,” etc. These are old myths that have not left the mainstream information pool. Recent science and health experts have dismissed all and here are the top five:

Fine chocolate comes in many colors

Many different types of fine chocolate

1. Calories don’t add up  Olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate; the most beloved MUFA’s (Monounsaturated fatty acids are a healthy type of fat that are plant-based) in the good fat family. Eating these rich MUFA’s at and in between meals is the key to reducing your appetite. However, it’s not a license to consume an entire chocolate bar, a little goes a long way, mindfully savor 2-3 squares a day.  Cortisol, the underling enemy that causes stress eating, simulates the appetite but specifically induces cravings for sugar and fat, MUFA’s help reduce those cravings.

2. Good news for Diabetics  Quality dark chocolate bars also helps control insulin levels and relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and provides important minerals including magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium, and iron lacking in the American diet. The more chocolate is processed, the more flavonoids are lost. Most commercial chocolates fit this category.

3. Allergies  Real chocolate has no gluten, dairy, GMO”s and is vegan. There is only two ingredients in the chocolates that I endorse and use at my events – organic chocolate and sugar, the best chocolates are made this way.  Many people that have had reactions such as headaches, are most likely from the chemical additives in commercial brands. Today, children suffer from peanut allergies and cannot enjoy chocolate like their friends. The unfortunate reality is most chocolate is processed in equipment shared with peanuts, by law that must be disclosed even on single-batch chocolate makers. However, Grenada Chocolate Co, Ritual Handcrafted and Dandilion Chocolate are chocolate makers that do not have nuts where they process their chocolate.

4. No Caffeine, but a mood lifter  There is a persistent urban legend that Chocolate contains caffeine. The alkaloid Theobromine is the active ingredient in chocolate. The two stimulants are related and have similar structures, but are have different effects. The chocolate amphetamine is a mood enhancer better known as the love chemical. The brain release endorphins–the same feel-good chemicals you have when you exercise or feel extremely happy. This will help decrease anxiety and depression, and will make you feel more relaxed. However, some commercial chocolate companies add trace amounts of caffeine, an addictive component. In general, eating one quality dark chocolate bar at once equals the stimulating effects of one cup of coffee. To add to the confusion, the sugar content may also have the same stimulating effect. The higher cacao content, the less sugar is in the bar. Example: A bar of 70% cacao will have about 30% sugar.

5. Not all fats are bad fats  Considered a “Super-Food,” chocolates heath benefits are still being discovered. Chocolate is made from a plant, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. The cocoa butter that is extracted from the cacao bean and added back to create chocolate bars is a heart healthy Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid “MUFA” just like olive oil. MUFA’s are unsaturated fats that are flexible, easily glide through the bloodstream to help unclog and protect arteries from building up. Only quality dark chocolate with cacao content of 70% or greater, not mass-produced chocolate with additives or milk. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavanols that boost good HDL cholesterol, and reduces the harmful effects of LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Flavonoids are plant pigments found in dark green vegetables, berries, green tea, chocolate, nuts, many spices, and red wine. Antioxidants help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals. An anti-inflammatory, that offers powerful protection against cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases.



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