Chocolate, the elixir of health ?

This week I am back on chocolate again.  In the past I have written about the Raw Food Diet and on the labeling of eating styles ( see blog Feb.2012 and May 2011….).  This week ties together chocolate, the Raw food Diet and being a “fun”etarian ( someone who has fun while cooking and eating).

A few weekends ago I attended one of the most popular cooking classes in Shanghai, the Raw Chocolate Cooking class. This yummy class is offered every few weeks ( precisely because it is so popular) by The Wellness Works ( www.the-wellenss-works.com).  I decided to take the class after sampling some of the byproduct ( ie chocolate) at a meeting. Dark chocolate heaven and milk free too.

The three hour hands-on class offers a bit of information on the principles of the Raw Food philosophy but the majorty of the class is devoted to turning out several different chocolate treats from the same basic recipe.  From a block of raw cacoa butter and some raw cacoa powder, some honey and a sprinkle of vanilla bean, our class created several flavors of truffles, slivered chocolate rounds, molded holiday candies and  we still had enough chocolate left for one big chocolate bar. So much chocolate, so much fun !

There is no milk or additional fat added to the recipe so the dark chocolate produced is also the kind that is being toted by nutritionists for the positive cardiac benefits.

Several studies highlight the benefits of dark chocolate consumption on blood cholesterol,blood pressure and weight-loss.  The European Journal of Clincal Nutrition reported on studies that indicated dark chocolate and dark cocoa products were able to lower LDL ( bad) cholesterol  while not effecting the HDL (good) cholesterol. Studies in the Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports point to the strong effect of dark chocolate ( 50-70% cocoa) on decressing blood pressure.  And finally the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published a study on the weight-loss success of overweight and obese women on restricted calorie diets that included a portion controlled dark chocolate snack. The specific studies are listed at the end of the blog for those of you who wish to delve a little deeper before popping that dark chocolate kiss.

To put this all in perspective: chocolate is good, dark chocolate is better and a little bit of either is the the best.

Eat Well, Live Well and Have Fun !

  • Tokede OA, et al. Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65:879-86.
  • Bauer S, et al. Cocoa consumption, cocoa flavonoids, and effects on cardiovascular risk factors: an evidence-based review. Current Cardiovas Risk Reports. 2011;5:120-127
  • Piehowski KE, et al. A reduced-calorie dietary pattern including a daily sweet snack promotes body weight reduction and body composition improvements in premenopausal women who are overweight and obese: a pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111:1198-203.