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You Are Wrong About Chocolate…

You Are Wrong About Chocolate…

I have to make a confession. I am a chocoholic! I promise that this article will be as balanced as possible but if there is some bias, I am sure you will forgive me.

The Aztecs and the Mayan people of Central America highly valued the cacao plant and its seeds. It seems that the Nahuatl language had the word ‘xocolatl’ for a cocoa drink which means ‘bitter water’.

Interesting also to look at who eats the most chocolate globally. The Germans are top of the list as their annual per capita consumption is a whopping 11.39 kg (25.11 lbs) while the US consumption is less than half of that at 5.09 kg (11.22 lbs).

There are lots of myths about chocolate and we were all told that chocolate could make you obese, give you acne, toothache and headaches, not to mention insomnia!

It’s time to debunk some of these myths and get the facts right. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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1. Chocolate will keep you awake

The people who spout this myth are trying to tell you that chocolate contains loads of caffeine and that is going to give you a sleepless night! This is false, as the actual amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is about the same as that of a cup of decaffeinated coffee. The cocoa bean contains only about 0.5% caffeine while dry coffee beans have 1.2% caffeine.

2. Chocolate makes kids bounce off the walls

This is an interesting myth, because the fact is that parents were expecting their kids to be hyper after a sugar or chocolate fix and so they were, according to them. The reality was quite different as the BBC discovered. There is no firm evidence to show that too many sweet things will make the kids bounce off the walls.

Choctruffles

    3. Chocolate could give you a stroke

    Recent studies have turned this on top of its head. Provided you eat moderate amounts of dark chocolate (74% of cocoa solids), you could cut the risk of stroke by 22%. Those people who did get a stroke (not from eating chocolate!) were 45% less likely to die if they had consumed moderate amounts of chocolate on a regular basis.

    4. Chocolate will give you acne

    Teenagers are usually told this but there is no scientific evidence at all that this is the case. If there is too much sebum, then this could block pores and lead to acne. But all the studies done so far have debunked this theory and there is simply not enough evidence to support it. There were 21 studies done and not one of them was able to point the finger at chocolate although dairy products did not do too well. Just have some dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate!

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    5. Chocolate will give you cavities

    They say this because chocolate has a high sugar content, although you can sidestep that issue by going for dark chocolate instead of white or milk chocolate which are usually sweeter. But the great thing about chocolate is that it melts quickly in the mouth, so that there is not much time for bacteria to form which might cause cavities. Actually, the cocoa butter acts as a sort of protective barrier which also prevents the bacteria getting the upper hand. Fluoride is also one element in chocolate and that is also useful in protecting teeth, as we know.

    hotchoc

      6. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac

      Lots of old wives’ tales about the power of chocolate as a sexual stimulant but there is no scientific evidence to back it up at all. Casanova is thought to have been a great fan of chocolate but studies have not shown that chocolate can affect your libido or sexual prowess in any way.

      7. Chocolate will not affect your mood in any way

      Your good mood depends on the serotonin chemical, which works as a neurotransmitter, which can help boost your mood and avoid mood swings. This may be a problem for women going through the menopause. Now, chocolate can help because it contains tryptophan which can stimulate the production of serotonin, so the positive effects on mood are notable.

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      Chocsouffle

        8. Chocolate will make you fat

        Yes, it will, if you eat lots and lots of it! But in moderation, chocolate can help you in many ways. For example, did you know that a single portion of 70% chocolate can give you the same amount of protein that you would get from a cup of broccoli? It also can give you fiber and also some of the healthy fats in the cocoa butter. All this means that you feel full and you are not subject to so many cravings.

        Chocolate also has polyphenols together with tryptophan which can improve your mood. It also makes you feel less stressed out and that can make the whole weight loss adventure more relaxed. In addition, chocolate contains epicatechin which boosts the metabolism, which will help you to burn off calories.

        9. Chocolate can be bad for your cholesterol

        Not true at all. Some fatty acids are good for you, others are not. Let us have a look at which fats are in chocolate. Most of it comes from the cocoa butter. There are three different types. One is oleic acid which is also found in olive oil and is actually great for your heart . The other one is palmitic acid (about 33%) which can increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) and clog up arteries. The good news though is that main fatty acid in chocolate is stearic acid and it seems to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, and does not have any effect on the LDL or HDL levels. So, having chocolate in moderate quantities is not going to affect your cholesterol one way or the other. Did you know that a serving of unsweetened cocoa has 0 grams of saturated fat?

        10. Chocolate could give you a heart attack

        Another myth still doing the rounds! But guess what studies carried out by Harvard University School of Public Health showed? They looked at 136 studies on chocolate and its effects on cardiovascular health. All these studies seem to suggest that there is a lower risk of heart disease when chocolate is part of your diet, again in moderate quantities. They found that it lowered blood pressure and also had an anti inflammatory function, both important for a healthy heart.

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        choc cake

          11. Chocolate can become an addiction

          Don’t worry – my chocolate habit is under control! But many people are convinced that you can become addicted to it. This would be true if you started eating several bars a day and also which type you were hooked on.

          The fact is the addictive elements, such as theobromine and cannabinoids, are present in chocolate but in very small quantities. In order to become addicted you would have to eat up to 17 ozs of it every day for quite a while!

          Now that we have debunked the 11 most notorious myths about chocolate, why not tell us why you like chocolate so much?

          Featured photo credit: various chocolates as a background – sweet food via shutterstock.com

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          Robert Locke

          Freelance writer

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          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

          Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

          Video Summary

          Why is it important to train up our core strength?

          There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

          This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

          Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

          In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

          One Exercise, multiple benefits

          There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

          By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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          When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

          Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

          In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

          What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

          What will happen when you start doing planks every day

            1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

            Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

            • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
            • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
            • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
            • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

            2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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              Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

              Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

              3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                  Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                  A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                  A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                  On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                  5. You’ll improve overall balance

                    Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                    6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                      Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                      7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                        Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                        How to hold a plank position

                        1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                        2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                        3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                        4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                        5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                        6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                        7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                        Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                        Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                          How to improve your plank time gradually

                          1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                          2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                          3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                          Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                          Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                          You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                          • Prolapse
                          • After prolapse surgery
                          • Pelvic pain conditions
                          • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                          • Previous childbirth
                          • Overweight

                          Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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