JoNova

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Chocolate is the fountain of youth, eat blocks, live long, be slim

We have found the holy grail and it is chocolate. Lo, “Eating 100 g of chocolate daily linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk”. One hundred grams a day! That’s about a quarter of the average adult woman’s total daily calorie intake. (About one sixth for a man).

So much for the 99% certain consensus that chocolate was junk food. ;-)

ScienceDaily:

Eating up to 100 g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk. The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death.

They base their findings on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study…

Around one in five (20%) participants said they did not eat any chocolate, but among the others, daily consumption averaged 7 g, with some eating up to 100 g.

Chocolate was associated with younger age… (we want some of that, right?)

Higher levels of consumption were associated with younger age and lower weight (BMI), waist: hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more regular physical activity –all of which add up to a favourable cardiovascular disease risk profile.

Eating more chocolate was also associated with higher energy intake and a diet containing more fat and carbs and less protein and alcohol.

The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death.

OK the bottom line — I like that they talk of mortality, but it’s not all-cause mortality, so it doesn’t really count. What if chocolate reduces heart disease but increases cancer?

I like that there is  a linear relationship right up to the highest levels of chocolate consumption. I don’t like that they didn’t even ask what kind of chocolate people were eating — as if Cadbury milk is the same as G&B’s 85% organic dark. Sacrilege!

I like that I now know there are people out there who eat more chocolate that I do. I feel so normal.

Confounders abound — what if people with dodgy hearts cut out the chocolate? What if chocolate is just displacing something worse? For anyone thinking of picking up the 100g daily habit, do check out the issues with cadmium.

This story will be picked up be every outlet. It’d help if specialist science writers had more experience unpacking the pros and cons of studies like these.

And among the 16,000 people whose inflammatory protein (CRP) level had been measured, those eating the most chocolate seemed to have an 18% lower risk than those who ate the least.

The highest chocolate intake was similarly associated with a 23% lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors.

Of nine relevant studies included in the systematic review, five studies each assessed coronary heart disease and stroke outcome, and they found a significantly lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption.

And it was linked to a 25% lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and a 45% lower risk of associated death.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. And the researchers point out that food frequency questionnaires do involve a certain amount of recall bias and underestimation of items eaten.

The useful information may well come from figuring out what foods the people-who-don’t-eat-chocolate are eating instead? 100grams a day of chocolate is displacing something. This study may show that chocolate is just better than that food.

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Chocolate is the fountain of youth, eat blocks, live long, be slim, 8.9 out of 10 based on 41 ratings

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89 comments to Chocolate is the fountain of youth, eat blocks, live long, be slim

  • #

    “What does it mean…?”

    That’s easy: Correlation is not causation.

    Healthier people eat more chocolate. Eureka (snore).

    70

    • #
      tom0mason

      Harry Dale Huffman,

      Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was said to use chocolate both for himself and those he seduced.
      Not that it kept him particularly health in later life, but when younger it probably assisted with his exertions.

      40

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      But Harry you are fond of concluding that correlation is causation. As soon as you have a correlation between two variables you stop looking for confounding factors. Have you changed your ways?

      How are the repairs coming along? I was hoping your hypotheses have a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

      00

  • #
    Planning Engineer

    Are these stories related or is there a “good” chocolate study and a “bad” chocolate study?

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/294632.php

    20

  • #
    Richard

    I eat organic unprocessed cacao nibs which is the supposedly the healthier option. When processing and melting chocolate you destroy the live enzymes and phytonutrients. Raw chocolate even has vitamin C. It has the highest magnesium content of any food, the highest iron content and possibly the highest copper content too. I started buying cacao nibs after watching the documentary ‘Food Matters’. Best documentary I’ve seen for years.

    60

  • #
    Manfred

    Chocolate reduces the physiological threat response.
    It is to the limbic system what empirical data is to climate models.
    It is Warming Predictions versus the Real World.
    It is science not ideology.

    61

  • #
    Yonniestone

    The most amazing thing I noticed from reading this was only one smiley face was used for the entire post. ;)

    I’d be careful Jo the warmists will use some form of ass hat psychology to create a cause and effect of a chocolate habit and denialism.

    Cooking up a new paper on climate denialism “Recrsive Hershey” how lewd.

    151

    • #
      Manfred

      Yonniestone, surprisingly, given the subject at hand, we’re doing very well – the ‘nay sayers’ don’t appear able to control the digital reflex associated with their threat response – the red thumb.

      Eating anti-depressant doses of fine chocolate would be a great start.

      40

  • #
    John Smith

    here in US our FDA has just banned trans fats
    not too long ago margarine was good
    consuming butter was more dangerous than landing with the Marines on Guadalcanal
    science is fashion
    glad I didn’t throw out those plaid bell bottoms
    I don’t think they’ll fit ’cause I ate to much trans fat in the 80s and 90s
    a regular bloke can’t catch a break
    gluten free is helping though

    130

  • #
    Al

    Coronation Street, Big Brother, Science Daily, Marvel Comics, BBC News; Hard to tell the difference these days. Just rubbish.

    60

  • #
    Another Ian

    Not chocolate but a “good news” limmerick

    “What then is this “Carbon Pollution”?

    A sinister, evil collusion?

    CO2, it is clean,

    Makes for growth, makes it green,

    A transfer of wealth, a solution.”

    http://lenbilen.com/2014/02/22/co2-the-life-giving-gas-not-carbon-pollution-a-limerick-and-explanation/

    161

  • #
    Rod Gill

    Do have to be careful, we often see and believe what we want to believe! There have been some scientific spoofs over chocolate as well, see:

    http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800

    20

  • #
    LeeHarvey

    I thought you all knew this had made the rounds in the ‘States a couple of weeks ago?

    Oh well…

    There was a big hoopla recently about this study, and how the authors published it just to see how many gullible health reporters would parrot the story without further investigation.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/05/28/410313446/why-a-journalist-scammed-the-media-into-spreading-bad-chocolate-science

    30

    • #
      Manfred

      Whatever way MSM sockpuppits spin / un-spin chocolate skience,
      it is undeniably a comfort food.

      70

  • #
    lemiere jacques

    it is low level science, it is simply counting people…

    if you don’t know the cause you can’t say to a particuliar guy “eat chocolate is good for you”…because you just don’t know if it is good for HIM..and from my point of view that is that matters.

    it seems good for a “population”, that s all…a step beyond is a step too far regarding science.

    40

  • #
    tom0mason

    For many animals chocolate is very harmful, deadly even, especially for dogs and horses.

    In humans though it act as a stimulant as it usually contains both caffeine, the quick acting water soluble stimulant, mostly associated with coffee, and theobromine, a slow acting fat soluble mild stimulant and has relaxing effect. In humans women are apparently more affected by it’s affects.

    50

  • #
    It doesn't add up...

    Presumably there is an anthropological study that shows how beneficial chocolatl was to Aztecs. Indeed, there must be more work on the benefits of mole poblano in the present day. Does the triangular form of Toblerone add years to the Swiss? But the Belgians are too handicapped by fillings of Kirsch, rum and brandy?

    50

  • #
    toorightmate

    Our beef producers need to kidnap the marketing department of Cadbury and utilise their skills

    40

  • #
    Another Ian

    O/T

    “Member of Parliament David Davies has warned of the stubborn nature of organisations like Britain’s Royal Society – the oldest grouping of eminent scientists in the world – who have admitted that they will not accept any other thinking on global warming for at least “fifty years”, even if the data shows otherwise.”

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/06/16/exclusive-well-all-be-dead-before-climate-change-orgs-admit-theyre-wrong-says-mp/

    A comment at WUWT on this asks why the warming scare based on about 20 years of records then?

    81

  • #
    NoFixedAddress

    Physicists have more fun.

    The first ‘bloke’ I ever saw making science fun was a man called Professor Julius Sumner Miller

    He endorsed Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate and who am I to argue.

    Interesting note and quote from him at that wiki entry for him that was made in the 1940′s :-

    Miller was intolerant of misspelled words and misplaced punctuation, and often angered his colleagues because he charged that the students of most faculty were not learning enough. During an interview in the 1940s, he stated that intellectual life in America was in trouble, a belief he held for the rest of his life.

    “We are approaching a darkness in the land. Boys and girls are emerging from every level of school with certificates and degrees, but they can’t read, write or calculate. We don’t have academic honesty or intellectual rigor. Schools have abandoned integrity and rigor.”

    170

    • #
      James Bradley

      NoFixedAddress,

      Julias Sumner Miller and his science shows were inspirational.

      In fact, I think Heath Ledger must have channelled him for ‘Joker’ in ‘The Dark Knight’.

      You don’t even have to close your eyes when he delivers all those lines, the speach pattern, the accent, and the wild hair, all pure JSM.

      70

    • #
      RoHa

      I remember those shows. They were great.

      (And approve of his attitude towards spelling and grammar. if you can’t even understand get commas right, you are not likely to be able to handle precise measurements and complex concepts.)

      One problem he set us is one I have wondered about ever since. Never come to a firm conclusion.

      You have a hot cup of coffee. You have a jug of cream straight from the fridge. The phone rings. You want to answer the phone, and then drink the coffee afterwards. Will the coffee be warmer if you add the cream now and then answer the phone, or if you add it after you have finished talking on the phone?

      50

      • #
        RoHa

        “if you can’t even understand get commas right”

        And if you can’t be bothered editing your own posts, you have no business grumbling about other people’s bad writing.

        30

        • #
          tom0mason

          RoHa,

          I have met two every good — world class — technical people. Oddly both had poor English language skills despite English (though from differing side of the Atlantic) being their mother-tongue.
          IMO skill at one subject does not confer skill in others. Besides a living language is always flexible and changes over time. Sometime the changes are fast — all the new phases and idioms that have arrived with wider use of computers, for instance.

          Sometime man, hip argo of digging the fantastic lingo is far out man :) . It’s our generation – the only thing getting down, movin’ it and feelin’ it; got it?
          Nows yoof gender8tion can like, sorta, like — kno waddi meen?
          :)

          20

      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        I’ll hazard a guess and say it would be warmer if you add thea cream before answering the phone.

        I base this on; the rate of heat transfer will be quicker while the coffee is hottest. So adding the cream first will drop the coffee temperature and the heat loss of the whole will be slower than that of a hot coffee sitting for the same duration (cream added later).

        40

        • #
          RoHa

          That was my guess, but I don’t have the necessary skill at thermodynamics to be sure.

          20

          • #
            NoFixedAddress

            It used to be called ‘Fluid Dynamics’ in my day.

            Anyone, and I do mean anyone, that purports to be a ‘climate scientist’ and has not studied fluid mechanics, or a branch, has no relevance in the discussion.

            20

            • #
              RoHa

              I’ll pass that on to any climate scientist I meet.

              00

              • #
                Bulldust

                Presumably the milk is warming up towards room temperature as well. The jug being bigger than the cup, I imagine the coffee will cool more quickly than the milk will warm. Much information is missing… perhaps that is deliberate to make one think about the parameters.

                10

        • #
          Sceptical Sam

          OK. I’ll bite.

          Surely it depends on the thermal properties of the cup and the jug?

          20

        • #
          Annie

          That’s my instinct too, but I can’t work out why!

          00

    • #
      Another Ian

      NFA

      Have you read R.V. Jones’s “Reflections on Intelligence”?

      10

    • #
      Bob

      Re: Julius Sumner Miller… some TV episodes on-line here: http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/whyisitso/default.htm

      10

  • #

    Michael D. Shaw has an interesting article also dealing with confounding factors over at Junkscience.com Statins: Still Overhyped After All These Years.

    It discusses not only the questionable approach of interfering with the synthesis of cholesterol which is essential for the functioning of all human organs, but also touches the confounding factors of memory function and cancer resistance for those being treated by statins.

    P.S. A distant branch of my family introduced eating (and drinking) chocolate to Germany in the 19th century.

    P.P.S. I hope that I don’t have to remind people that eating chocolate will also slow the rising of sea levels due to climate change. ;-)

    80

    • #
      tom0mason

      Bernd Felsche,

      Maybe someone needs to ‘sponsor’ ( :wink: ) a meta-study to show how dark chocolate is more effective than statins, and so make everyone happy.
      That’s the way today’s post-modern ‘science’ works — isn’t it?

      30

  • #
    Bathurst123

    All ‘Common’ Chocolate in Australia has the known food Allergen SOY in the manufacture, check it out. Soy was not in the product in the 1970′s

    30

  • #
    Robber

    “Scientists” are giving science a bad name. Supported by “press release” journalism, almost any study can be made to say whatever you want it to say. Start with a hypothesis (i.e. what you think the answer should be) and then sort the “facts” to prove it. That applies equally to good/bad chocolate and good/bad carbon dioxide.

    60

  • #
    Ruairi

    All ingredients must be displayed,
    To see how the chocolate is made,
    As they’re not all the same,
    Some nutritionists claim,
    Cocoa butter makes the healthiest grade.

    60

  • #
    jorgekafkazar

    Does anyone else remember Cadbury’s Dark Delight chocolate bars? Alas, they have been gone for 35 years now.

    50

  • #
    el gordo

    I’m a fan of Willie’s Cacao Venezuelan Gold, it beats the pants off a aspirin a day for the same benefit.

    60

  • #
    drbob

    For what its worth, its been my experience that consumption of a few blocks of 70% cocoa chocolate has been very effective in reducing the frequency and severity of night cramps. Chocolate is a very rich source of cramp-preventing magnesium, according to my GP. After some six months, there seems to be correlation.

    60

  • #
    tom0mason

    I wonder how much ‘superior’ quality chocolate will be consumed by the Elitist of the UN in Paris come December.

    I hope the ensure that is is ‘sustainably’ produced, organic, fair-trade, green, and full of high protein insects.

    :)

    40

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    I was under the impression that too much sugar in general is bad for your metabolism ( and teeth I guess )owing to making the body pH too acidic ( which cancer loves ).

    That said, high cocoa choc ( 70-85% ) with less sugar in it also has a fair bit of calcium. I recall talking to a dentist one day who agreed with the dark choc possibly being beneficial for your teeth due to teh calcium in it, however she said they cant *really* say that publically, because people will hear what they want to hear and hear “all chocolate” not “dark chocolate” i.e. they willassume sugar-laden milk choc is just as healthy, then complain when their teeth rot out…..

    60

    • #
      tom0mason

      OriginalSteve

      Thankfully the public don’t appreciate the goodness of real chocolate, like the 80% cocoa ‘Tembadoro’ I’ve just eaten. If they did it would be so much more expensive.

      Yep it has sugar – 17% by weight, but mostly it is cocoa mass with 43% cocoa fat, and a little flavoring — real vanilla.
      This blog reminded me I still had some in the freezer, such a great gift from my family.
      Damn it was good! :)

      50

  • #
    Mike Smith

    OMG, please save us from all this good food/bad food “research”.

    Just consume a balanced diet of many food types, all in moderation, and you will thrive nicely.

    50

    • #
      RoHa

      Heaven’s no! Look at the centuries before modern scientific food research. People ate what they could find, or, if they were lucky, what they liked. (If they were very unlucky they ate sushi.)

      And they are all DEAD!

      30

  • #
    handjive

    I, for one, have no problem with chocolate.
    Well, one problem.
    I can’t stop at one.

    As I sit here, forlornly lamenting the empty packaging of my Cadbury’s TopDeck, halal certified, I ponder the future of a glass and a half of full cream daily milk on my health …

    As does the Pope:

    “The Pope may not be a climate scientist but, unlike many of the prominent climate change-denying Republican politicians in the U.S., he knew to consult with the best scientists to make sure he got the science right—and he did,” Michael Mann, a prominent climate researcher at Penn State University, said by e-mail. (wapo)

    Obviously, the Pope didn’t consult The Rapture Index. (A Gauge of the end times)
    . . .
    It’s not the end of the world, but, you can see it from here!

    Perhaps the world’s conspiracy theorists have been right all along (telegraph.co.uk)

    Hmmmm … chocolate ….

    40

  • #
    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Heh, nice find, and very understated delivery.
      But it doesn’t sound the same, as the fake study was from “Institute of Diet and Health” and had only 16 subjects, whereas Jo’s quote is from a survey of 21 000 subjects done by “EPICA-Norfolk”.

      You probably found this already, but for everyone else I’ll save you the strenous act of duckduckgoing:

      http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800
      I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.
      John Bohannon
      Filed to: debunkery 5/27/15 1:23pm

      He did what engineering metrology expert John Brignell called a “data dredge“. Survey enough variables from a small sample and you’ll some kind of correlation just by chance.

      Of course, we should be careful not to commit the Fallacy Fallacy.

      30

  • #
    Ian Hill

    Only 100g a day? I have no problem consuming triple that.

    Chocolate and vegemite together doesn’t really work though!

    40

  • #
    handjive

    SIX SHORT VIDEOS HIGHLIGHT DEFICIENCIES IN AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY MAPS

    Warwick Hughes has post: This first video shows just how basic simple, obvious and indefensible some of the mistakes are.

    Video #1 is 5 minutes. Warning: you will need to clear desk of anything throwable or spill-able.

    30

  • #
    Wally

    This was known 10 years ago when the CSIRO came out with the total wellbeing diet (lowish carbs!!). One of the people involved in that was on the radio talking about chocolate and the 100 grams / day was mentioned then. It has to be dark chocolate, by the way.

    20

  • #
    John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia.

    As the late, great, fitness guru, Jack LaLanne, used to say: “if it tastes good, spit it out”. Incidently, aged 54, Jack badly beat a young 21 year old Arnold Swartznegger in a push-up and chin-up challenge from Arnie. Arnie said after: that Jack LaLanne’s an animal.

    10

    • #
      RoHa

      I’d rather eat chocolate than beat Arnold Swartznegger (any age) in a push-up and chin-up challenge.

      00

  • #
    bobl

    I am fully in support of this study, and those than can afford it should throw a few sheckles Jo’s way so she can buy more of it!

    I have a few comments on this

    Chocolate is a serotonin stimulant which can result in muscle relaxation and lower blood pressure, it’s also useful to relieve anxiety.
    Chocolate also has some good fat content, which combined with lower carbs (IE Low sugar dark chocolate) can raise HDL and Lower LDL – That’s an interesting one. Without added sugar the chocolate is also useful in a Ketogenic diet which has utility in weight loss and cancer suppression.

    I have no doubts at all that (sugar free) chocolate has a positive effect on cardiovascular death, the Serotonin effects alone would be enough to do that. The biggest problem is that most chocolate is packaged with a LOT of sugar – you do need to read the label to figure out which is good for you.

    For what my inexpert opinion is worth, my theory for western obesity is that our food packages a lot of fat with lots of simple Carbs (Principally Sugar) – when you combine fats with sugar, your body preferentially burns the sugar leaving the fat alone. I think diets need to be balanced so that your body burns Fat at least part of the time. Either low carb diets or Fasting will do that.

    30

  • #
    Ursus Augustus

    My wife is coming home for lunch and I have a 200g block of chocolate in the kitchen drawer.

    The pleasure bunnies will unfortunately not have time to run around the fields hippity hopping and clicking their heels but it will be raining brownie points!

    It is almost like CO2 has been revealed as plant food and the foundation of the life cycle itself.. :)

    40

    • #
      Annie

      You’d better hide it! If my OH has some, slow consumer as he is, I don’t need to know its whereabouts.

      00

  • #
    Dean from Ohio

    Finally…news I can use!

    It’s even better considering that the Left is at war with chocolate, even to the point of predicting a cocao shortage in 2020: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/20/why_climate_change_could_mean_the_end_of_chocolate_partner/.

    I think now would be a good time to invest in chocolate. Oh, and eat some too.

    30

  • #
    sophocles

    If only. How much of the good feelings are due to the chocolate and how much from a systemic overload from the sugar?

    Milk Chocolates: 52.8grams of sucrose per 100g
    Plain Chocolate: 42.8g of sucrose per 100g

    Biscuits have a sugar loading ranging from 29.2g of sugar per 100g for chocolate coated digestives to 34.7g grams of sugar per 100g for fully chocolate coated.

    Removing sugar from ones diet is amazingly effective at losing weight.

    10

  • #
    Ceetee

    Must be the combination of chocolate and sugar that does the trick. Some people love the super dark 80% cocoa stuff which is nice but not quite magical.

    10

  • #
    ExWarmist

    Chocolate – the cure of small baby syndrome in the year 2815.

    30

  • #
    jorgekafkazar

    As I often say, a day without sunshine is like a day without chocolate.

    30

  • #
    richard clenney

    I love chocolate!!! this study proves to me that those who have not had a stroke, or don’t have a bad heart, LIKE CHOCOLATE! Too many studies get cause and effect backwards.Bring on
    the DARK RICH!!

    10