Is chocolate bad for your health?

There are many rumors and old wives’ tales about how chocolate’s bad for you. One is that chocolate is bad for your joints. Another pegs chocolate causes acne. A third says chocolate causes caveties.

The answer to the question “Is chocolate bad for your health” lies in what is added to the chocolate. You see, cocoa beans are not inherently bad for you. But the milk and sugar products that are added to make chocolate candy and other chocolate treats do have a detrimental effect on your health.

For instance, chocolate is not, per se, bad for your joints. A healthy, normal weight person who eats chocolate frequently should not have any unusual trouble with their joints. Joint trouble is brought on by obesity. While chocolate isn’t directly bad for your health, if you eat chocolate in immoderate amounts, you are likely to get fat. Getting fat is bad for your joints.

Another myth is that chocolate causes acne. Actually, sugar causes acne. So, while you will break out if you eat a whole box of See’s candy, you will also break out if you eat an entire cherry cheesecake. Chocolate in moderation, and in balance with the other sweets you consume, should not cause acne.

As far as chocolate causing caveties, a recent study by Osaka University in Japan showed that cacao contains an antibacterial agent that actually protects the teeth. Again, the culprit for caveties is sugar, not the cacao product.

Instead of being bad for your health, a little bit of chocolate could even be good for it. Dark chocolate has antioxidants which help your heart. An ideal serving is 100 grams of dark chocolate a day. The cocoa phenols are known to lower blood pressure. But you have to remember to balance out the calories. A 100 gram bar of Hershey’s dark chocolate has 531 calories. The best advice here is to switch your sweets to dark chocolate rather than add additional dark chocolate treats to your diet.

In 1998, British researchers did a study and found that eating chocolate is actually linked to having a longer life. For instance the residents of Kuna, an island in Panama, drink about 5 cups of cocoa each day and have a variety of recipes for the beverage. However, they rarely develop high blood pressure or heart disease. Residents who have left the island and taken up different eating patterns have developed heart disease in numbers equal to the general population.

The real answer to the question “Is chocolate bad for your health” is that a little bit won’t hurt you but a lot is definitely a no no.

For instance, one regular serving Hershey Bar weighs 43 grams. Of that, there are 13 grams of fat which is 20 percent of the recommended daily value of fat. But, there are 8.5 grams of saturated fat which equals 40 percent of the day’s allowance of that substance. Of the 210 calories in the bar, 110 are from fat.

The same size Special Dark bar weighs 41 grams, of which 12 grams come from fat. 8 grams are from saturated fat. There are 180 calories, of which 110 are from fat.

You have to decide how chocolate will fit into an otherwise healthy lifestyle. That way, you can answer “no” to the question “Is chocolate bad for your health?”

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