chocolate is it good for your health or not

The topic of controversy that I have chosen to research is whether or not chocolate is a healthy snack or not. I chose to research this topic was because the thought that once said to be unhealthy snack is now being considered a snack containing some of the same ingredients that are in fruits and vegetables. I will explain both sides to the story to tell whether chocolate is good for your health or not.

The first viewpoint that I will explain will be the healthy side to chocolate. I first found an article from CNN written by Catherine Ann Rauch explaining some of the upsides of chocolate. In this brief article by Rauch, you see that she supports the fact that chocolate is healthy for you based on research done by Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D. According to Rauch, studies done by Kris-Etherton show that there are antioxidants found in cocoa that are also found in fruits and vegetables. “Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases” (MedlinePlus). Antioxidants are also very good for your cholesterol. Just looking at that fact you can start to see how chocolate may indeed be good for you so far. In fact according to Kris-Ethertons research the antiocidants in dark chocolate can actualy increase your HDL levels by 10 percent. HDL basically stands for your amount of good cholesterol.
The study that Kris-Etherton conducted was that they had people eat 22 grams of cocoa powder and 16 grams of dark chocolate everyday. The end result in the study was a total success for Kris-Etherton. The study showed was that your good cholesterol became more vulnerable to oxidation. This is a good thing because oxidation is what happens before your arteries get filled with dangerous clogging plaque. In other words the oxidation will help prevent the amount of plaque that gets to enter your arteries. Kris- Etherton also discovered other information about chocolate. It contains another healthy substance other than antioxidants. This other substance in chocolate happens to be stearic acid and what stearic acid does, is it helps your HDL levels rise. So, your good cholesterol will get a boost from this stearic acid. Now this is not saying that chocolate is the new cholesterol lowering tasty treat, but it can eventually be a healthy snack if consumed in right amounts. If chocolate is abused, of course its going to hurt your health.

One article that I found is by Daniel J. DeNoon. Daniel gathered is information from Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues of the University of Cologne. He explains how dark chocolate is exceptionally good for your health. Taubert conducted a test with dark chocolate and white chocolate to explain the difference and gather new findings. Taubert’s team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure. Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate. Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure, while those who ate white chocolate showed no change. An hour later after the first results, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. Overall dark chocolate is healthy for you if you have health problems, but you still can’t act like you can eat it all the time.
The next article that I discovered is titled, “Is Chocolate Healthy For You” written by Michael Collins. This article is another one that supports the fact that chocolate is health for your, but also how chocolate has a down side to it. In this article Michael Collins focuses on dark chocolate and how it may be healthy for you rather than looking at chocolates abroad. He describes how dark chocolate can help reduce heart disease and also helps clear your blood vessels of plaque. Collins lets us know that the everyday chocolate that the majority of people eat (milk chocolate) is not healthy for you at all in any way. So, why is dark chocolate health for you? One reason is that 70% of dark chocolates cocoa is from a plant making it natural. Well that cocoa contains these things called falconoids which is in many other healthy antioxidant foods. Falconoids keep blood clots from forming and they also reduce fatty deposits on artery walls.

Now as I said Collins had both sides of the story, the healthy and unhealthy side. One unhealthy fact is that dark chocolate contains a lot of fat. That is one reason you can’t abuse it, but it is good in small portions in each day if its necessary to take depending on your health status. According to Collins’ article 2.6 grams of dark chocolate contain 23 grams of fat making this once so healthy snack, fatty. In this article, Michael Collins also shows with his information that chocolate can be healthy for you by reducing your cholesterol and helping out your heart. Though if eaten in large amounts your will be hurting your cholesterol and heart like any candy chocolate because of its large amounts of saturated fats.

One article I found is of Andrew Waterhouse, the lead researcher from U.C. Davis. He is a wine chemist. Now, why am I including wine in this research? Because wine has phenolics in it as well as chocolates. For several years he has been studying the possible health benefits of antioxidant phenolics found in red wine. Phenolics prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries. Phenolics have been chemically proven to reduce oxidation which in turn benefits the heart and arteries within the human body.

So, there is good way to eat chocolate in fact. You must eat it in moderation as a part of a healthy diet. Also you can only have dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa because milk chocolate is harmful to your health. Dark chocolate has its benefits if eaten correctly. Also you cannot drink milk with your dark chocolate. If you do that it will maximize the amount of antioxidants that enter your bloodstream.

Finally, lets start talking about chocolate’s bad side and why its not healthy for you. The fat and sugar in the chocolate can create an unpleasant but temporary upset stomach. That is what happens in most chocolate ingestion cases.

For the average person there are two main down sides to chocolate, fat and sugar. Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease. It can also feed cancer cells. Fat definitely is not a heart healthy thing obviously.

The first problem with this delicious sweet is the fat. A fat meal such as demolishing a bag of chocolate bars can create a lethal metabolic disease called “pancreatis.” Pancreatis can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are just the beginning of this disastrous disease. Remember, in the case of pancreatis, it is the fat that causes the problem. Another reason why chocolate is toxic is because it contains theobromine. Theobromine causes vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, racing heart rhythms, and death in some cases. One of the chemicals in chocolate that may be negative are oxalates. They may cause kidney stones, but you’d have to eat large quantities. Chocolate may also cause heartburn in some people. Chocolate also contains tannins which cause headaches for some people when they eat chocolate. Another ingredient in chocolate is phenylethylamine (PEA), a substance that can dilate blood vessels in the brain. People with a sensitivity to PEA might find that eating chocolate triggers headaches, even migraines. Also people who are prone to heartburn will get it most likely. Those symptoms certainly don’t drive towards eating chocolate if you know what I mean.

One controversial issue when dealing with chocolate is whether or not is addicting. I found an article by Jane Collingwood. Chocolate is the most frequently craved food in women, and many women describe themselves as “chocoholics.” When we eat sweet and high-fat foods, including chocolate, serotonin is released, making us feel happier. Serotonin is not a good part about chocolate because it more less makes us crave chocolate. Jane Collingwood goes on to talk about how chocolate is addictive. Is it in our minds? (Chocolate contains several biologically active ingredients, all of which can cause abnormal behaviors and psychological sensations like those of other addictive substances. Researchers at the University of Tampere in Finland found that self-proclaimed chocolate “addicts” salivated more in the presence of chocolate, and showed a more negative mood and higher anxiety.) The researchers state that chocolate addicts show traits of regular addiction, because they exhibit craving for chocolate, irregular eating behavior, and abnormal moods. Those tests basically show that in a way, chocolate is addictive which can grow on you if you don’t take control of yourself.

Another worry that disapproves chocolate being healthy is the risk of obesity. Obesity is a significant risk factor for many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Chocolate has large amounts of calories and fats which both contribute to obesity.

I found information on how chocolate and how it can effect your skin by Temma Ehrenfield from Newsweek Exclusive. She reviewed several studies conducted by researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia. One report that chocolate does indeed cause blemishes. Although it is mainly the sugars that chocolate contains. Also milk chocolate is a high glycemic food which causes facial breakouts. Now dark chocolate has its better side because dark chocolate is a low glycemic food which is a good thing unless you eat a whole box.

Before doing my research, I was in belief that it was possible for chocolate to be considered and healthy. I thought it may be an alternative for people to start using to help lower their cholesterol and to help out with their hearts. I figured if cocoa is taken from a plant it would have tons of healthy potential. Why wouldn’t it be a healthy treat every once in a while. Then when researching antioxidants I found that they are health benefits and they are found in fruits and vegetables. Although after researching and learning more about chocolate and its properties my viewpoint definitely changed regarding chocolate being healthy.

I mainly change my first viewpoint because chocolate has way too many down sides to it. When I found out about all the saturated fats, sugars, cocoa butters, and oils it made me sick to my stomach. Yes, maybe all those things make it taste like heaven, but those ingredients hurt your health in several ways. Also when I found out about the symptoms of chocolate, that wasn’t too persuading. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want diarrhea or perhaps die. If something is considered to be healthy it must be something you can consume lots of and it will benefit your body. Now, with chocolate you cant have great amounts and what is the fun in that. Its just not a healthy food in my opinion because it helps your health, but at the same time it doesn’t. How chocolate does this is because the more chocolate you consume the more fats you consume with that the more chocolate you consume the more antioxidants you consume. In the end its not a food that can be eaten and eaten without a consequence to your body, even though dark chocolate has its benefits.

http://www.grinningplanet.com/2007/02-13/chocolate-and-health.htm

http://www.newsweek.com/id/108810

http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com/chocolate-and-headache.html

http://www.exploratorium.edu/exploring/exploring_chocolate/choc_7.html

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