Is Dark Chocolate Good for Us? The Truth Behind the Nutrition Myth

Is Dark Chocolate Good for Us? The Truth Behind the Nutrition Myth


It’s well-known that dark chocolate is a health superfood, in the same category as olive oil, avocadoes, salmon and almonds…or is it? An article by Vox examined this deep-seated myth and found that, over the past three decades, millions of dollars were spent by large corporations like Mars, Nestle and Hershey’s to fund the questionable scientific research from which it is derived.

This funding hasn’t been for naught, as this new niche of nutrition science has helped build a solid aura of health around chocolate — and grow consumer demand. Chocolate sales in the US have risen from $14.2 billion in 2007 to $18.9 billion in 2017, market research group Euromonitor International found, at a time when overall candy sales have been waning.

Why “Experts” Don’t Always Have Our Best Interests in Mind

We tend to believe media articles with tantalizing titles like “study proves chocolate lowers blood-pressure”; after all, the experts have said so. And yet it is helpful to realize that many food companies have been pushing their own agenda in promoting the scientific research that best suits their interests. Nutrition science is notoriously complex, and what happens can be likened to an anecdote by author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris, whereby a person loses their watch at night and looks for it beside the lamppost. When asked why, he says, “it’s because that’s where there is light!”

By the same token, scientists hungry for prestige and grant money will often investigate questions useful to the food industry, to the detriment of doing research that can advance the public good. Unsurprisingly, these sponsored studies yield results that are favourable to the companies doing the funding, at rates that far exceed chance.

So, is Dark Chocolate Good for Us?

Chocolate contains flavanols that have been found to be heart-healthy at doses of 600-700 mg. What is often not mentioned in the glowing articles encouraging its consumption is that to receive that dose of flavanols, one would need to consume 4.5 oz. of dark chocolate (or the equivalent of 750 calories), or 40 oz. of milk chocolate (the equivalent of 5,850 calories). That kind of intake also comes with a big whopping dose of fat and sugar.

What it all comes down to is that candy is candy, no matter how it is presented or marketed. North America has a huge problem with obesity, and all accounts indicate that a diet heavy in sugar is to blame. It is thus irresponsible and dishonest to tout the benefits of something that can only expand our waistlines and hurt our health.



Nezha Boutamine | The Edge Blog


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