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Issue #004-- The Research Behind the Health Benefits of Chocolate
September 16, 2003

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September 17, 2003 - Issue #004


1) The Research Behind the Health Benefits of Chocolate
2) Healthy Recipe of the Month
3) Your Healthy Eating Support Group Tip
4) Healthy Products You Need To Know About

The Research Behind the Health Benefits of Chocolate

Is chocolate really as healthy as it has recently been touted to be? The media has reported that recent research studies show that the polyphenols in chocolate have antioxidant effects that are healthy for your heart.

Let's look at the facts:

A study reported in August 2003 in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that blood pressure was slightly reduced in elderly hypertensive patients who ate 3 ounces of dark chocolate a day for two weeks. There was no effect in those that ate white chocolate.

Are these results significant? The total number of participants in the study was 13. Half ate the dark chocolate and half ate the white chocolate. The conclusion was drawn on the basis of 6 or 7 people eating dark chocolate for 2 weeks. Is this a large enough study, and was it carried out long enough, to draw any conclusions about the healthfulness of chocolate? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Another recent study was done by Scottish and Italian researchers. The 12 subjects in this study, on different days, ate a 3 ounce portion of either dark chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with a serving of whole milk. Those who ate the dark chocolate showed an 18% increase in antioxidants in their blood. But those who ate milk chocolate or dark chocolate with whole milk showed a very slight increase in antioxidant level. The author of this study speculated that milk proteins may bind antioxidants and inhibit their absorption. NOW THIS NEEDS TO BE STUDIED!

Both studies called for further research, but this is not what the media reported.

Both studies also were based upon antioxidant properties of polyphenols found in cocoa, the primary ingredient in chocolate. But polyphenols are also in fruit, vegetables, tea and red wine.

Let's put this in perspective.

Yes, dark chocolate contains polyohenols which have beneficial antioxidant properties. But chocolate also has caffeine and theobromine. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug. It is a heart, nervous system and respiratory system stimulant. It causes nervousness, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, panic attacks and may cause convulsions in large doses. It causes the body to lose calcium and it is addictive. Theobromine is similar to caffeine.

Pure organic cocoa as an occasional treat, in small amounts, may offer some health benefits without adverse effects. But processed chocolate with hydrogenated oils, milk products and sugars is anything but healthy.

Click here
to send any comments or questions about this discussion. I cannot answer each question individually, but I will attempt to address questions in the next newsletter.

Healthy Recipes of the Month

Healthy Veggie Snacks:

Celery spread with your favorite natural, unprocessed nut butter, like cashew butter, almond butter or macadamia nut butter.

Use cashew butter as a dip for baby carrots

Corn tortilla spread with nut butter and sprinkle on shredded carrots or raisins or both and roll up and enjoy.

If you prefer a little sweeter taste for your snacks, try mixing a few drops of stevia in the nutbutter. Do it a drop at a time because stevia is very sweet and too much tastes bitter.

Your Healthy Eating Support Group Tip

If you're having a hard time staying on track eating healthy foods, get your Personal Food Planner out and make sure you look at it before you decide to eat something you know is unhealthy.

You can make your own Personal Food Planner or there is a copy in HEALTHY EATING:For Extremely Busy People Who Don't Have Time For It. If you don't have a copy of this book, you should get a copy and keep it handy where you can refer to it often. See the link below.

If you would like some personal, one-on-one help to get yourself eating healthfully, I will be offering healthy eating coaching/nutritional consulting services by telephone. The first session is free. You just have to pay for the call. To schedule your no charge evaluation, send me an e-mail with NO CHARGE EVALUATION in the subject line. Tell me what your concerns are, what times you are available, and what time zone you're in. I will send you back an e-mail with your appointment date and time, and the phone number for you to call.

Healthy Products You Need To Know About

HEALTHY EATING: For Extremely Busy People Who Don't Have Time For It tells you what's healthy and what's not in a clear, concise and easy-to-use format. It gives you a system so easy to use that you can't help but succeed at eating healthfully. In less than 15 minutes, you will know how to choose healthy food and be on the right track to eating healthfully. If the above link doesn't work, copy into the address line on your browser.

FOOD ADDITIVES: A Shopper's Guide To What's Safe & What's Not lists over 1300 food additives classified according to safety, whether they may cause allergic reactions and if they are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA. It's a handy pocket-sized book that you can carry with you when you shop to help you read food labels and make sure the food you're buying has only healthy ingredients. It will help you choose healthy foods when you shop and keep harmful chemicals out of the food you feed your family. If the above link doesn't work, copy into the address line on your browser.

Written by Christine H. Farlow, D.C.
Your Personal Online Healthy Eating Coach
(c) copyright 2003

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