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chocolate and health
November 23, 2004
7:45 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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BBC News:

quote:


An ingredient of chocolate could put a stop to persistent coughs and lead to new, more effective cough medicines, research suggests.
Scientists found the key ingredient, theobromine, is nearly a third more effective in stopping persistent coughs than the leading medicine codeine.



Read more:
[url]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4032585.stm[/url]

masur, i've changed the name of the thread to encompass anything health-related. alex_h

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Marieel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
November 24, 2004
2:48 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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This is quite amazing. As some of you probably know, codeine is a pretty strong substance, ie. classified as opioids and consequently potentially addictive - in Norway paracetamol+codeine is called "housewife's drugs" ...). Hence I think most doctors are delighted to find substances that are as effective if not more but with less adverse effects.

I am not at all surprised by these results. Repeating myself, my nose get blocked if I don't eat a certain amount of chocolate (no more than two days off - well, who said addictive ...). And as far as I can remember, I have so to speak not been caughing since I started eating fine chocolate (but I have had a cold).

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
November 24, 2004
9:45 am
alex_h
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my one concern is what effect eating much chocolate has on the digestive system. i have the feeling it has the same effect as drinking black coffee.

what are the real adverse effects of chocolate consumption?

November 24, 2004
1:49 pm
Sebastian
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well, one side effect of high theolophilline ingestion is that it's a stimulant (structurally similiar to caffeine) - it's also the component that's responsible for the reason why you shouldn't feed chocolate to your dog, incidentally.

adverse effects of chocolate consumption? I'm guessing you mean on other than your pocketbook ;-)
well, if you over do it, there's obviously a caloric component. it's cariostatic, so no real tooth problems, and the high stearic acid component of the triglyceride make up leads to a flat response of serum cholesterol (more important for milk chocolates, really, or darks witha dded milk fat). High polyphenol contents are good from a cardiovascular standpoint, and it's got chemicals that bind to the cannaboid receptors in the brain, giving emotional support, if you will8-) high magnesium andiron levels are postualted to be the reason why women during their period crave chocolate, to replenish lost minerals.

November 24, 2004
2:01 pm
alex_h
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sebastian, what's with the stearic acid? what do you mean by 'flat response of serum cholesterol'?
i've read about these positive effects you mention, but i was just curious about what really is bad about good chocolate other than the sugar. that is if there is anything bad at all.
i just thought too much cocoa might cause heartburn or acid-indigestion or whatever it's called.

November 24, 2004
4:22 pm
Sebastian
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cocoa butter is a fat, and fats are made up of things called fatty acids. some of them are unsaturated, some of them are saturated, some of them are trans - in short, some are good, some are bad. stearic acid is a fatty acid that makes up about 1/3 of what's in cocoa butter. it tends to neither increase nor decrease the amount of cholesterol in your blood - it sort of is a steady as she goes type component, so if you've got a cholesterol level of x, and you're eating a chocoalte that is relatively high in cholesterol, stearic acid essentially keeps that cholesterol from getting into your blood, resulting in your cholesterol levels staying the same. some see sugar as being bad, i tend to look at things from a moderation point of view - everything's ok - and usually essential - at some level. it's when you start overconsuming smoething that it's bad. water is bad if you overconsume 8-) that begs the question, how much chocolate is too much? can't answer that. especially since each person is an individual and may tolerate (or not) it differently. what may give you indigestion may do nothing to me, for example.

November 24, 2004
5:05 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Alex, why is sugar so bad anyway? It's probably much better for you than the artificial sweeteners available on the market anyway. I would much rather consume regular cane sugar and not have negative effects on my digestive system than to eat artificial sweeteners or xylitol which do effect the body in very obvious ways (i.e. laxatives). They might have different effects on your glyemic level, however, but this concern is really only limited to diabetics and other people concerned about calorie intake. Indeed, you must factor chocolate into your daily eating patterns, and if you feel you're eating too much refined sugars, then cut back on other things if you find it unbearable to decrease chocolate consumption. Moderation is key to all things. For example, if you eat too much fiber, you will be remarkably "regular," something which might send you to the bathroom several times and make you feel bloated.

November 24, 2004
5:23 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Also, what I find interesting is that a lot of people like to single out certain foods and blame them for negative effects on health. Chocolate has a bad reputation among most people, but the concerns these people have are unjustified by the sugary and hydrogentaed fatty concoctions developed by the big-boy mass production brands. Look at chocolate this way:
It's essentially the same as any other food. If done right (i.e. Cluizel, Domori, Valrhona, etc.), it can be a healthy and pleasurable addition to any diet. However, it can be corrupted into extremely unhealthy forms that are indeed detrimental to your health. To make it seem more down to earth, take the humble potato. Basically, it's a powerhouse of essential carbs and nutrients, a versatile and healthy food that can be prepared in several ways to deliver its healthy goodness. However, when sliced thinly and fried in oil (potato chips), it's a crispy deliverer of hydrogenated oils completely devoid of any health benefits whatsoever. So, you must also look at a food's preparation as well and realize that a food's health benefits are dependent upon these preparation methods; it's all relative. I think that the premium chocolates we all eat are the purest forms we can achieve while still being palatable on a global level. As a result, it's probably the best way to maximize the full health benefits cacao can yield.

Also, alex, if you think about it, our sugar craving shouldn't really be avoided, as it was an important craving that aided in humankind's early survival. Since natural sugars are high in calories, the foods that contained them helped provide the necessary energy needed for every-day life. Our "sweet tooth" is basically a leftover from our ancestral past, but with the abundance of high calorie food nowadays, we must be selective in what we eat in order to prevent negative health effects.

November 24, 2004
5:48 pm
alex_h
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i agree with both of you: all things in moderation. sugar included. me, i prefer to get my sugar from fruit. i don't really eat much sweets, so i figure that the amount of chocolate i eat isn't going to do me in. specially since i tend to stay above 70%.

November 26, 2004
6:43 pm
green
Trondheim, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

Alex, why is sugar so bad anyway?


When you eat sugar, it rises your bloodsugarlevel. As a response to this, you produce insuline to get rid of the bloodsugar, becaus it, in short, is bad for you. The more, and the more often, you eat sugar, the less you react on the insuline. When this comes to a certain level, it gets a name: diabetes. So even if most people don't have that diagnosis, everybody that eats any amount of sugar do suffer from "mild diabetes". To bad, but we are made for fat and proteins, not sugar. Anyone ever get cravings for something not unhealthy?

November 26, 2004
8:18 pm
Lone Ly
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Coffe is a mild laxative which I doubt is the case for chocolate.

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
November 26, 2004
11:10 pm
Sebastian
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Actually, sugar isn't in and of itself bad for you - you need it to live. Every cell in your body requires it, in the form of glucose. Insulin simply helps regulate how much of it goes to which parts of your body. What can be rough for those of us who are not diabetic are the glycemic and insulinemic peaks and valleys that can rapidly form and fall with highly refined sugars. It's been linked to less sustained energy release (you tire more quickly over extended periods of time) and depressed satiety (linked to hormones such as grehlin, which are essentially appetite control mechanisms - you get hungrier faster). Those with diabetes lack the ability to make insulin, make it in sufficient quantities, or are resistant to it.

Actually, I crave healthy things all the time - it's your body's way of t elling you you're lacking something, and it knows the foods you consume that have what you need. I've not eaten much fruit or veggies since tuesday, and for the past two days I've absolutely been going bonkers to have an apple. Women often crave chocolate during their menses, and it's been suggested that it's their way of replenishing minerals such as iron and magnesium, as chocolates typically have plenty of those.

November 27, 2004
6:12 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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Exactly. When carbohydrates are broken down in our bodies, they essentially get turned into sugars, which is what provides us with the majority of our energy. There are different types of sugars, and each food affects the glycemic levels differently. Carrots, for example, raise the glycemic level rather quickly, whereas more starchy and tougher foods such as potatoes don't. They take longer to digest and to get absorbed, so thus they "stay with you" longer, meaning that if you eat these kinds of foods, you won't need a lot of food to fill you up. It depends on how rapidly the energy is released and absorbed by the body. Sugar just happens to get utilized rather quickly, so as a result, once your level diminishes again, you'll be hankering for more.

November 27, 2004
10:29 am
green
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Actually, and this is quite new info, potatoes have a higher glycemic index than sugar, so it is kind of a myth that it lasts longer than other foods. And as for the fact that we need sugar to live, yes ofcourse, but we do have four hormones to make sugars from fat. Only one to remove to much sugar...

November 27, 2004
12:33 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by Sebastian

Women often crave chocolate during their menses, and it's been suggested that it's their way of replenishing minerals such as iron and magnesium, as chocolates typically have plenty of those.


... so how do you explain the constant craving for chocolate? ;-)

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
November 27, 2004
12:39 pm
Sebastian
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erm, it's darn good? 8-)

December 2, 2004
5:45 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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I crave healthy foods all the time too. I usually have periods where I eat one type of food or combinations of foods and flavors for a while, then crave another. For example, I've had extreme cravings for squash lately, so as a result I've been eating pumpkin, acorn squash, gold nugget, delicatta, etc. for weeks now. Ginger and cranberries are other foods I've been craving too, so I incorporate them into several of my meals and dishes.

February 15, 2005
11:15 pm
chocbloc
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I've got a question on this topic. I have read this thread before, but that was before my health situation developed. Anyway, what I would like to know is the following:

My cholesterol level is 172, which is good but my HDL levels have always been low. In fact, in the last 16 months my overall cholesterol has gone down from 205-172 through diet changes alone, but my HDLs went down as well (33 down to 26). My doctor put me on Niacin tablets today. My triglycerides were also a little high.

So, my question is does eating dark chocolate daily have a negative effect on my triglycerides? I don't think it should have an effect on cholesterol, right? I don't eat a lot each day, but I will reduce it if that will help. Thanks.

P.S. - I would appreciate the input of people who have a high level of knowledge on the subject. For example, Sebastian seems to be very knowledgeable, as well as maybe Monte. Tks again.

Mike (restin' on my laurels and my hardys too)

Mike (restin' on my laurels and my hardys too)
February 16, 2005
12:46 am
Sebastian
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Chocolate is comprised largely of three types of fatty acids - palmetic, stearic, and oleic - roughly in equal portions. Stearic acid has been shown by a number of studies to be cholesterol-static (causes cholesterol not to change regardless of cholesterol intake), and i've seen a few studies that suggest it actually can actually raise HDL by up to 10%. I'm planning on speaking at the Natural Foods Expo West next month on this very topic. The antioxidants can prevent oxidation of cholesterol, which in turn leads to plaque build up as well. If you're consuming your chocolate in conjunction with relative high Ca++ levels, you're also likely to see a 15% reduction in total fat absorption, with perhaps an 8% cholesterol reduction (I'm going from memory on those numbers - I believe they're accurate, but would have to refer to my papers at work to be certain).

February 16, 2005
12:58 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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Also, the oleic fatty acid gets processed by the body quicker and doesn't have the chance to get stored as "fat," per se, as other saturated fats would. So essentially, the fat that chocolate does possess, gets processed before any other fat. To further expound, stearic acid actually gets converted into oleic acid.

I think that palmitic acid would probably be the biggest contributor to elevated cholesterol, but its presence is supplemented mainly by stearic and oleic acids, which Sebastian mentioned. And as aforementioned, oleic and stearic acids are biological netural acids and and have no effect on liver receptor activity.

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