The Dark Side of Dark Chocolate
December 27 2007 1:00 AM ET
You might want to
think twice before downing another dark chocolate
truffle this holiday season, says a new report in The Lancet.
The BBC reports
that while plain chocolate is rich in the heart-healthy
plant chemical known as flavanols, an editorial in The
Lancet indicates that many dark chocolate
manufacturers actually remove the flavanols because of
their bitter taste, leaving just high amounts of fat
and sugar, both of which impair cardiovascular health.
According to the
Lancet editorial, "When chocolate manufacturers
make confectionery, the natural cocoa solids can be
darkened and the flavanols, which are bitter, removed, so
even a dark-looking chocolate can have no flavanol.
Consumers are also kept in the dark about the flavanol
content of chocolate because manufacturers rarely
label their products with this information."
Even with the
flavanols intact, chocolate lovers need to respect the
rules of moderation, The Lancet continues. "The devil
in the dark chocolate is the fat, sugar and calories
it also contains. To gain any health benefit, those
who eat a moderate amount of flavanol-rich dark
chocolate will have to balance the calories by reducing
their intake of other foods -- a tricky job for even
the most ardent calorie counter." (The