Chocolate’s good for you.
Riiiiiiiiight… and I’m Willy Wonka.
Halloween is just days away, and — wouldn’t you know it — a new study comes out and says exactly what someone holding a giant bag of leftover trick-or-treat candy wants to hear.
Go ahead. Eat it. It’s GOOD for you!
The review of 19 studies — led by researchers from Brown University of all places — claims chocolate can improve blood sugar, insulin and circulation, cut triglycerides and raise your levels of HDL cholesterol.
It can also cut levels of inflammation in the arteries.
And when you put it all together, you get the stunning conclusion anyone clutching a jumbo-sized bag of mini-chocolates is waiting to hear: Chocolate can cut your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Of course, that’s not really what the study says anyway — only how it’s being spun in the media.
But these researchers are no amateurs. They knew that would happen — especially if they issued a flashy press release just before Halloween announcing the discovery to the world.
And why would they want that?
That’s hidden in the details at the bottom of the study, where you learn it was funded in part by Mars Symbioscience, and one of the authors was paid by Mars Symbioscience.
We’re not talking the planet Mars, here.
Mars Symbioscience is part of Mars Incorporated, the $33 billion candy empire behind M&Ms and Snickers.
And if I were a betting man, I’d bet that there was candy money flowing like a chocolate river all throughout the 19 studies this team analyzed.
If you read the details, you’ll learn a few things that aren’t being as widely reported in the media.
First, the researchers admit they don’t know if the supposed improvements will actually cut your risk of heart attack or diabetes. None of the 19 studies — not even one of them — reached that conclusion, and none of them were even designed to figure that out.
All of them were short-term studies that examined the immediate effects of cocoa flavanols in the body based on blood tests.
The folks in the study didn’t get those cocoa flavonols from a Milky Way bar, either. In the studies, volunteers were given either dark chocolates or a dark chocolate drink rich in flavanols — both, no doubt, much lower in the sugars found in the most common chocolate candies, like the ones you’re giving out on Halloween.
So don’t eat candy and expect to prevent disease or a heart attack — but if you DO want the benefits of cocoa, stick to either small portions of the darkest chocolate you can stand, or pure cocoa powder mixed into your morning coffee.
If it clumps up, run it through a grinder before mixing it in.