The mere thought of it is enough to cause chocolate lovers to salivate at biting down on a Hershey bar or shoving a handful of those aluminum-wrapped candy kisses into their gaping mouths.
And why not? For were told in health nutritional articles that appear on the internet, that instead of feeling guilty for savoring that delectable taste with each bite, you should feel virtuous in knowing that chocolate is considered by nutritionists to be beneficial for health.
That’s because, as researchers say, it contains large quantities of antioxidants-chemicals that help to neutralize some of the harmful reactions occurring as part of our metabolism and during exposure to pollutants. In short, antioxidants stop us from going rusty inside.
Scientists indicate it also can, by consuming 100g of dark chocolate daily (along with fruit, fish and vegetables) cut the risk of coronary heart disease by a massive 76%, reduce blood pressure, and may increase life expectancy for men by 7 years and five years for women.
And according to “shrinks, ” it melting in the mouth at body temperature and silky, luscious sensation adds to its appeal, and is one of the main reasons why chocolate proves so addictive.
In addition, there’s no disputing the resulting feel-good factor, that increases brain levels of several chemicals, including mood-altering PEA (phenylethylamine, related to amphetamine which produces a mild confidence-instilling buzz.
The cons: (1) chocolate packs a lot of calories, just 1000g contains 520k in milk chocolate, 510k in dark chocolate, and 529k in white chocolate; (2) sweetened chocolate contains lots of sugar,* producing glucose swings, as well as encouraging you to eat more, and are increasingly linked with obesity and type 2 diabetes; and (3) it can, as with any addictive drug, cause mood swings as well as carbohydrate cravings. *Dark chocolate, which contains the least amount of sugar, is better for you than milk and white chocolate.
Historically, chocolate dates back to the time of the Aztecs when cocoa beans were so prized that they were used as currency. They consumed chocolate in the form of a sweetened drink, which was believed to increase wisdom, boost energy levels and have a powerful aphrodisiac action.
Today, the top chocolate loving nations are: 1. Switzerland 22.36.2.-Austria 20.13.3. Ireland 19.47.4-Germany 18.o4-5-Norway 17.93. Americans eat an average of 22 pounds of candy each year, or about 2.8 billion pounds annually, which totaled $13.4 billion in sales in 2006, and is split almost equally between chocolate and candy, with 71 % preferring milk chocolate.
The Hershey Company is the largest producer of chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery. It has 14,000 employees, with annual revenues of more than $6 billion. And its universally renown Hershey Park in PA. is visited every year by an estimated 2,690,000 people.
As a type 2 diabetic since my mid 40s, I wouldn’t risk lapsing into a diabetic coma my by going there and yielding to the temptation of devouring mouthfuls of those chocolate goodies, not even if I was offered a free ticket to all the rides, via a chauffeur-driven limo. That’s for much the same reason why I carefully avoid going down the candy aisle in stores, no matter the relentless urging of my sweet tooth.
Before closing, especially in leaving those of you who found this blog stimulated your desire to munch on a piece of solid chocolate or chocolate covered candy bar, I’ll relate, anecdotally, a most intriguing, true-to-life story of a person who could have made it into the Guinness World Book of Records as the leading, individual consumer of chocolate, bar none.
His name, for those of you who are too young to recall it, was Adolph Hitler, who according to those intimately acquainted with his lifestyle and habits, gulped down up to 2 pounds of chocolate per day.
And in a diabolical plot to kill Winston Churchill in 1942, he had explosive devices placed in a thick layer of dark chocolate-colored wrapping paper, so as to leave no doubt as to the sender. Fortunately, British agents foiled the plot.
Among his other idiosyncrasies he never went to a dentist, or stripped naked for a medical examination, the only exception perhaps being when intimate with his live-in companion Eva Braun.
Quote of the day: “I owe it all to little chocolate donuts. John Belushi
PS: Chocolate is as toxic as grapes to dogs and could kill ‘em.