Cacao and chocolate, especially dark chocolate, have received multiple favorable health claims throughout the years. Club ChoKolate will explore all these and more to provide you with the most objective information on the topic of cacao, chocolate, and health. We can start by reporting what those health effects are.
When I searched the title of this article in google, today (Jan 2018), the first page showed ten sites as reference none of which are related to chocolate; they are all lifestyle, news channels or health-related / medical websites.
I dug deeper into these websites and found the most common reasons to eat dark chocolate; I read multiple potential health benefits. For instance: "very nutritious," "powerful source of antioxidants," "improve blood flow;" "lowers blood pressure," "improves cholesterol profile," "lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease," "protects skin against the sun," "improves brain function," "rich in minerals," "helps reduce weight," "good for mothers and babies," "may prevent diabetes," "relieves stress," "cancer prevention," "improves eyesight," "reduce inflammation," "cough suppressant," "improves concentration," "boost your vision," "rich in fiber," and "sleep aid." It sounds like chocolate is a miracle food.
Now, when reading this long list, I wonder: are these benefits of dark chocolate true? Is there enough scientific evidence to make these claims? What is the source of this information? Few of the sites mentioned or cited their sources and that makes me wonder about the validity of the data. Also, like in the medical field, if studies are supporting these claims, who is financially supporting them? Often there is a conflict of interest when the involved party, in this case, the chocolate industry, financially supports the studies and influences the design of the research and the reporting. For example, if a chocolate manufacturer pays for a study to prove a particular benefit of chocolate, but the result is negative, i.e., chocolate is not beneficial, then they might not report that, and we will never know. I am not saying that this happens; however, we must read carefully and interpret the information appropriately so that we can make our conclusions.
Club ChoKolate will provide you with objective health-related information related to dark chocolate published in the medical literature. I will search each of the claims above and its relation to dark chocolate or cacao and then provide you with my take on this information. In the end, I would like you to have the knowledge and make your own decisions.