It’s Easter Sunday in Australia on April 16th and that means lots and lots of delicious chocolate will be consumed at Evachill HQ! Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate….bars, eggs, bunnies. You name it, we will likely be craving it in all flavours and shapes!
And it’s not just us who loves to indulge! Chocolate consumption in Australia is on the rise. It’s reported that 66% of men and 72% of women in Oz eat chocolate with Cadbury being the preferred brand.
So with chocolate on our minds, it got us thinking about certain health benefits associated with this delicious sweet treat. We set out to debunk the top chocolate myths! Is chocolate an aphrodisiac? Can chocolate ever be good for you? Is chocolate bad for your skin? Read on to find out!
1. Chocolate raises cholesterol. A key ingredient that’s used for both chocolate and hot chocolate is flavonoid-rich cocoa. Research shows that flavonoid-rich cocoa can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
2. Chocolate causes acne. There’s little evidence that chocolate is the case of bad skin. Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban says "Chocolate per se will not make you break out, but we do know that a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body -- which can lead to acne”.
3. Chocolate causes weight gain. Any food can cause weight gain if eaten to excess. Though, if consumed in moderation then chocolate can definitely be eaten as part of a healthy diet. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than are burnt off. So eating a small chocolate bar won’t be the cause of weight gain if it’s the only high-calorie food in your diet.
4. Chocolate has no nutritional value. Cocoa has high levels of antioxidants which makes dark chocolate (with high cocoa content) a superfood. Dark chocolate also contains soluble fibre and lots of minerals, including iron, potassium and zinc.
5. Chocolate causes headaches. A recent study concluded that “Contrary to the commonly held belief of patients and physicians, chocolate does not appear to play a significant role in triggering headaches in typical migraine, tension-type, or combined headache sufferers.” Chocolate and other sweet treats tend to be craved during times of stress and hormonal changes, both of which can cause headaches. So that’s possibly why the connection has been made between chocolate and headaches.
6. Chocolate is high in caffeine. Chocolate tends to have a fairly low amount of caffeine in it, particularly when compared to the amount of caffeine that’s in coffee. Darker varieties of chocolate have a higher caffeine content than milk chocolate, but still nowhere near as high as a caffeine based drink.
7. Chocolate causes hyperactivity. Sugar is often thought to result in hyperactive behaviour, particularly in children. Recent studies, however, have shown that there’s no clear link between the two.
8. Chocolate cannot be eaten by people with diabetes. Chocolate actually has a rather low glycemic index. Research has shown that eating dark chocolate can improve insulin sensitivity and endothelial dysfunction in people with diabetes. That said, always consult with a doctor before eating all of the Cadbury shelf!
9. Chocolate causes cavities and tooth decay. Research conducted by Osaka University found that parts of chocolate’s main ingredient, the cocoa bean, can prevent the build up of bacteria in the mouth and tooth decay.
10. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Studies that have been carried out haven’t found any conclusive evidence that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Instead, it’s thought that chocolate can get you in the mood simply because we believe it will!
So from our research, we can see that chocolate maybe isn’t as bad as we thought. Now we’re not suggesting you indulge every day because that would definitely lead to weight gain and a whole host of health problems that come when eating something to excess. But when Easter Sunday comes round and a chocolate binge is inevitable, you can feel somewhat less guilty about eating all that chocolate!