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good news for chocolate lovers-discovery news

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Commis Chef

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject: good news for chocolate lovers-discovery news Reply with quote

Chocolate's Benefits Depend on its Color
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

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Oct. 31, 2006 — Eating chocolate can either be a health trick or just a treat, according to a recent study that found dark chocolate is so healthy it may reduce the risk of heart disease, but white chocolate provides very little health benefits.

The study, published in a recent Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, also determined that chocolate is the third highest antioxidant source for U.S. consumers, just behind coffee and tea.

Coffee, tea and chocolate all contain polyphenolic compounds that counteract the damaging effects of oxygen on cells by protecting against free radicals, which are molecules with unpaired electrons that have been linked to everything from cancer to bad cholesterol.

"One cup of black tea is equivalent to one dark chocolate bar for antioxidant content," lead author Joe Vinson told Discovery News.

Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, and his colleagues conducted four experiments. They first calculated the antioxidant content of various chocolate products, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate milk made with two different types of chocolate syrup and dry hot cocoa mixes.

They discovered dark chocolate contains an average of 951 phenols, while milk chocolate contains around 394. Homemade hot chocolate made with chocolate syrup was next best, while the dry mixes provides few beneficial compounds, likely because they contain more fillers.

The researchers then analyzed how these chocolate products affected blood drawn from a 58-year-old man. They followed up by having two men and two women consume dark chocolate muffins and chocolate bits along with their regular meals.

The test subjects’ blood was drawn at 0, 2, 4 and 24 hours after eating. In each sample, the darkest chocolates bound with LDL’s — i.e. the bad cholesterol — and prevented oxidation, which is linked to heart disease.

Finally, the scientists performed blood cholesterol tests on Syrian golden hamsters before and after the rodents munched on "brownies" made with rodent chow, Hershey’s cocoa powder, water and coconut oil. The brownies, which the hamsters gobbled with apparent glee, decreased elevated cholesterol levels by 36 percent.

The findings are supported by yet another study released earlier this year that was conducted by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, Amsterdam. This research studied how cocoa affected the mortality of 1,000 elderly Dutch male subjects. It found the highest cocoa consumers had a 50 percent decreased risk for cardiovascular mortality than men who consumed less chocolate.

"What's interesting in this new study is that the most benefit was seen in the group that consumed the dark chocolate," said Catherine Neto, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth who also studies the link between food and health.

"Unfortunately, most kids, mine included, prefer milk chocolate, which contains less polyphenolics because the percentage of cocoa is lower."

She points out that white chocolate has no benefit since it contains almost no cocoa and sometimes it can be difficult locating healthier chocolate among milk chocolate. But, she says, it's worth the effort.

"It's hard to find bags of Halloween candy in the stores that contain dark chocolate," she said, "but health-conscious consumers should look for them."

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've known this for a bit, and I love the darker chocolate.
Have you seen and/or used the new Chocolatier Chocolate by Nestles?
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