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Pros and Cons of Chocolate

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Q. I really love chocolate and if there are proven health benefits I will be very happy indeed! I still have doubts whether chocolate can be healthy. How about sharing information on side effects and disadvantages?

A. Chocolate can lower blood pressure, improve the flexibility of blood vessels, help prevent blood clots, reduce insulin resistance and help keep bad LDL cholesterol from causing mischief. New research shows that Swedish women who eat more chocolate are less likely to suffer a stroke (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Oct. 18, 2011).

The main drawback to chocolate is that it tastes so good people may overdo. That means too many calories. Concerns have been raised that chocolate may contribute to heartburn, migraine headaches or irregular heart rhythms in susceptible individuals.

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14 Comments

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Several years ago while on vacation in Paris I noticed that the yummy breakfast rolls had bits of chocolate in them. Now I sprinkle some Toll House bits on my oatmeal in the morning and hopefully I am getting the health benefit without overindulging.

It is very hard to not over do eating chocolate.

This is not very informative as their are different types of chocolate. Milk chocolate is NOT helpful... Always choose dark chocolate with over 60% cocoa listed on the pkg. I have suffered with migraines for over 40 years and have never been able to eat chocolate. Now that I eat dark chocolate 72%, I have less headaches... I only eat a one inch square with a few almonds and fruit... remember not all chocolate is alike... with all things do your homework.

I see they are showing chocolate chips; yesterday I purchased two bags, 60% cocoa, Ghiradelli, that were on sale. Before I used chocolate bars, eating a square or two at bedtime. However overdoing on chocolate is not a problem for me; ice cream is. My severely underweight husband likes ice cream and it helps to get needed calories into him as he will not drink any liquid sources, like meal replacements in cans.

I am going to have to lock up the freezer, it is that bad. So I understand that chocolate can be difficult; perhaps breaking up the bar in advance and freezing it in portions can help. Or giving it to another person to control. If none of this works, you can forsake chocolate and find other food sources offering some of the same advantages.

I assume that if one sweetened cocoa with something other than refined sugar, one could enjoy the benefits of chocolate without the harmful effects of sugar. Is this true?

What about chocolate sweetened with grain or juice concentrate, or with xylitol, stevia or agave nectar? I'm hypoglycemic but can tolerate chocolate sweetened with any of these. Of course can't overdo any of them.

What IS the proper amount to eat?
ec

Over a year ago my doctor sent me to a ENT doctor as he thought I had "silent reflux"... ENT said saw a "burn" put me on Nexium come back in 2 months... Everything looks good, finish prescrip come back in year. After that I retired, moved my place at beach and no problems... one on the symptoms was a phlegm like in throat that wouldn't clear, every once in while something would crop up.

And on one of the weekly newsletters a lady wrote about her son having a cough at night and had read about Vicks on feet and about giving dark chocolate. She opted for Vicks fix, thought chocolate would wind him up keep him awake. The reply form Peoples was that there is an ingredient in dark chocolate that is good for coughs. Well let me tell you.. thank the Lord for Hershey Dark Chocolate kisses. they are better than the $150 Nexium pill that I hated taking.

One of them and there goes the phlegm clog up when it flares up. I HATE TAKING ANY KIND OF DRUG and what you can do with a bag of Hershey Kisses and a bottle of Welch's grape juice is just amazing. BUT A LOT OF GOOD VEGETABLES HELP ALSO.. BUT I am eating better than before.

Would love to hear an interview with Harvard professor Norman Hollenberg, who showed cocoa-drinking Panamanian Indians had virtually none of the blood pressure/heart disease issues of their non-cocoa-drinking cohort.

me, too!;-))

You have more willpower than I will ever have, Congrats.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY,

You don't always put enough information in your articles. This doesn't help people.

I know you should eat dark chocolate, but there are so many different kinds. What Brands? Expensive, Moderate, or cheap? How much should we eat? Is there anything else we should know? Is dark chocolate safe for someone with Congestive Heart Failure (mild)?

PLEASE ANSWER!!!

I eat Baker's semi sweet chocolate as it has a high cocoa content and surprisingly is low in sugar (relatively speaking) as well as saturated fat. Not sure why the expensive brands of chocolate contain so much sugars and fat as the taste difference is not that different. The Baker's tastes pretty good and is inexpensive. By the way the best way to eat chocolate is to just let melt in your mouth. That way the taste lasts much longer which hopefully will keep you from eating too much of this great stuff:):)

Chocolate tastes really nice but how healthy is it really? and who can honestly say that chocolate doesn't make you want more? Chocolate is really easy to get addicted to but really hard to get off the addiction (I know this from experience) but I can still eat chocolate just in smaller amounts.

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