The key to living longer may be in the cocoa powder!


| 8 Comments

I first heard it in an episode of Spongebob. Spongebob and Patrick were trying to sell chocolate bars and as a way to get people to buy them they said that eating it would make the person live longer. At first and for a while I never thought it was true. Chocolate is known to not be that great for you, so how can it also be something good enough to make you live longer?

A study from Harvard researchers took 8000 men and examined their candy eating habits. It was found that those who ate chocolate tended to live longer. Those found to live the longest ate candy, on average three times per month. The researchers believe that this finding came to light because chocolates main ingredient, cocoa powder, is also thought to decrease risk of heart disease and cancer. Because chocolate does contain a lot of sugar, butter, and fat it as also advised at the end of the article to remember, moderation is key!

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I thought this article was very interesting but I had one huge problem with it. There wasn't anything said about taking any third variables into account. All they did was measure candy eating habits and then said chocolate makes you live longer.  How do they know it wasn't another type of candy? Or maybe even another part of the subjects diet? I think there are way to many confounding variables that weren't thought of that could make the outcome of this study completely different had they been taken into account. 

8 Comments

I liked your criticism of the misleading parts of the article. I always would have wanted to know if it's a specific chocolate that is better for your cardiovascular health and what biological mechanisms take part in this.

Other studies looked at the same thing and came to the same conclusion, that people who eat more chocolate have better heart health. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/chocoholics-may-have-an-edge-in-heart-health/2011/08/31/gIQAyO1C4J_story.html

What I would really like to see is a longitudinal study where chocolate consumption was controlled for 2 or more groups and results were measured. I could not find a study like that in my own research.

Wow! That definitely justifies my eating a bar of chocolate today then, thank you!
Jokes aside though, I was actually really surprised to find that chocolate, well more specifically, hot chocolate actually helps with memory functions. This small study tested 60 older people who didn't have dementia and found a positive correlation between their brain activity after the study (which constituted their drinking 2 cups of hot chocolate a day) and scientists even say that hot chocolate might help with diseases like Alzheimers!
Also on a side note: Hot chocolate with little to no sugar and skim milk/water is a lot healthier than candy bars - so that's definitely a plus side!
Though do keep in mind that this was a very small study, consisting only of 60 people.
Here's the article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264551.php

I definitely agree with you that the study was somewhat inconclusive as it doesn't try out anytime of candy other than chocolate. It also didn't say why chocolate was so good for them.One thing I do no is that dark chocolate is healthy for people. This website details what dark chocolate is helpful with and says how it helps areas of the body: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.html#b

I've read that chocolate releases endorphins in the brain, the same chemical that is released during exercise that makes us feel comfortable and happy. While the effect is much milder than a high, the feel-good effects of endorphins are enough to explain the craving many chocolate lovers experience. While a craving can be brought upon by stress, endorphins in chocolate in moderation can help alleviate stress and restore levels of blood sugar in cases of deficiency.

It has been a widely spread thought that eating some chocolate can provide health benefits. It can be a strange thought that the high in sugar candy bar could give some health benefits but there have been many studies on the topic. One such study looked at the possible health benefits to the beverage hot chocolate. It was found to help with obesity related health issues. This article talks about it proved effective in mice.

Being a chocolate lover myself, this post caught my eye immediately. Of course we have all heard the negatives about eating too much chocolate, but the positive points are never emphasized. I looked up an article myself, and came across one that talked about the ways chocolate can benefit your health. The part I found most interesting was how chocolate is good for your skin.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/28/11-reasons-chocolate-is-good-for-your-health.html

I couldn't have been happier to read this because i am the biggest chocolate lover you'll ever meet! Obviously you can't eat too much chocolate because there are many calories in it as well. Check out this article http://www.livescience.com/39733-reasons-chocolate-good-health.html if you get a chance, it talks about the sliming effects which is always good for a girl to hear! I think your article was great in that it didn't just talk about a generic chocolate bar but hot chocolate as well!

Chocolate can be extremely good for you but only if the cocoa is a high percentage! I really like that you accounted for the third party variable. I feel like that would be a question we would see on an exam after reading said article. This chart shows some other perks of chocolate and I want to print it out and put it on my fridge every time I'm eating chocolate: http://visual.ly/health-benefits-chocolate
I find I feel less guilty eating chocolate if it is dark chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage. I break it up and put it in my greek yogurt as a nice treat!

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