The ‘bitter’ truth

THERE ARE two words that best describe chocolate: sinfully scrumptious.

And while its good old plain version is enough to send most on a sugar binge, the incredible variety of its flavours, textures and combinations are sure to tempt even those who rarely experience a sweet tooth.

There’s just nothing as delicious as mint chocolate to end a savoury meal or some gooey death by chocolate cake with milk tea. But just like all other great tasting goodies, excessive consumption of chocolate isn’t going do a favour to your waistline. In fact, if you don’t want your love for chocolate to give you love handles, you need to check your sugar cravings and curb your consumption.

However, every few months a new ‘scientific’ research highlights the health benefits of chocolate and thus coaxes us into jettisoning our restraint. The latest one that’s been making headlines reveals that chocolate might actually lower the risk of stroke in men.

These findings follow a stockpile of former research that makes us feel a tad less guilty about chocolate consumption. Not only does chocolate supposedly cut down the risk of coronary disease and diabetes, if we are to believe existing studies, it can also help us lose weight!

But before you gorge on a generous slab of chocolate to supposedly take advantage of its health benefits (but mostly enjoy its wonderful taste), here are a few facts for you.

It’s true that chocolate can be healthy, but it’s the dark variety — bitter in taste and low in sugar — that you need to go for if you are the health conscious type. Regular milk chocolate is loaded with refined white sugar, which is stored in the body as fat and is also highly carcinogenic.

Moreover, studies that highlight the benefits of chocolate, produce uncertain results. Probability is actually the key factor in most of this research— chocolate ‘may’ cause weight loss, it ‘may’ reduce the incidence of coronary disease. So don’t delude yourself into believing that a leaner figure or a healthy heart is just a chocolate chip cookie away.

Besides, the spate of research on the wonderful health benefits of chocolate sounds a tad dubious. One cannot help think that chocolate manufacturers might be funding this investigation to make us indulge more in their sweet treats. So this is the ‘bitter’ truth: The way to health is certainly not as delectable as studies on chocolate make it sound.

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