Diabetic Medicine recently published a placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study that evaluated the effects of dark chocolate on weight and glycemic control and cholesterol levels in 12 patients with type 2 diabetes on stable medication. Two groups were randomly selected. The first group was given 45 grams of 85 percent dark chocolate to eat per day for 8 weeks and the second group was given a placebo which contained no cocoa solids but was dyed the same color as the dark chocolate.
When the 8 week trial had concluded, both groups undertook a 4 week washout period and then crossed over to the opposite group for a second 8 week period. The results revealed that none of the participants gained weight despite eating 45 grams of chocolate per day and that HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) increased significantly when the subjects ate dark chocolate on a daily basis. A decrease in the total cholesterol: HDL ratio in the dark chocolate group was also found. Researchers suspect that the high polyphenol content in dark chocolate is responsible for the positive results observed in this study. Although this was a relatively small study, it appears that dark chocolate in moderation is not harmful and may actually offer significant benefits.
50% of the world population say that they could not live without chocolate and it seems impossible to think that lives can be changed and health restored, or greatly improved, by eating dark chocolate, but it’s true! 1,200 studies have verified a long list of proven health benefits that are associated with the consumption of dark chocolate. For example, research suggests that it may lower blood pressure, improve cognitive function and act as a mood elevator, reducing stress and nervousness. It may also suppress appetite and promote better sleep cycles. Cacao powder contains sulfur which helps to promote healthy skin and builds strong hair and nails. It also helps detoxify the liver, and supports healthy functioning of the pancreas. Fresh cocoa beans are also super-rich in flavanols which are strong antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood flow.
The Oxygen Radical Absorbant Capacity (ORAC) index is a method of measuring antioxidants in a wide variety of foods. Research has found that 100 grams of raw cacao powder has an ORAC value of 26,000 making it the highest level of any normal food. There is one dark, organic chocolate which laboratory tests have confirmed, has an ORAC rating of 33,928 per piece as compared to 18,500 for Acai Berries, 1,540 for Strawberries, and only 1,260 for raw Spinach.
If your chocolate choice is bland and unhealthy, why not consider changing it! You can still enjoy the creamy, smooth taste of chocolate and receive some essential health benefits. Your body will love you!!