Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Chocolate’

Myth-Melting Study Finds: Chocolate Burns Belly Fat, Improves Cholesterol

Friday, July 8th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

To our loyal Choclatique blog followers: It isn’t too often that I forward a scientific study to our website. In this case I will make an exception. While I follow most of them, many are very boring, but this one caught my attention.  That said, I must point out that this was a pilot study with a very small sample size (just 15 people) and a very short duration (just 1 week).  The results and conclusions, while instructive, are not projectable to the population at large.

We have known for years that chocolate has over 300 beneficial chemical compounds. Now, a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has shown that chocolate can improve markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.

When we originally formulated Choclatique Q-91, our functional chocolate, we knew that it was developed and formulated with many healthful benefits in mind.

  • Choclatique Q-91 is a premium dark chocolate rich in flavanols and antioxidants.
  • Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass.
  • One of the most pleasant effects of eating Choclatique Q-91 is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.
  • Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • Dark chocolate is a known to be a safe stimulant (and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac).
  • Choclatique Q-91 is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.

Now grab a piece of dark chocolate and read on to see what the researchers have to say about the potential benefits of chocolate.

Date: June 27, 2016

Natural Health, Natural Medicine

A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has revealed something quite counterintuitive about chocolate, one of the world’s most prized ‘high-fat’ foods. This strangely medicinal ‘sweat treat,’ which ironically you find in the candy aisle at the pharmacy, improved markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.

Researchers from the Department of Neuroscience, Division of Human Nutrition, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, in a paper titled ‘Effects of dark chocolate in a population of Normal Weight Obese women: a pilot study,’ describe the effects of 100 gram of dark chocolate taken for one week (approximately a 3 ounce bar) in so-called ‘normal weight obese (NWO)’ syndrome subjects.

NWO syndrome is defined as ‘an excessive body fat associated with a normal body mass index and characterized by a higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,’ and has been found to be associated with a 2.2 fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality in women compared with those with low body fat.[1] Generally, those with NWO have 30% or more total body fat mass percentage and significantly higher values of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α.[2] [3] [4]

The study looked at the effects of dark chocolate consumption on the following:

  • Blood lipid profiles
  • Biochemical parameters (e.g. interleukins)
  • Blood pressure
  • Abdominal circumference (i.e. ‘belly fat’)

A modest sample size of 15 women with NWO syndrome, aged 20-40 years, were included in the study. They received 100 grams of dark chocolate (DC) containing 70% cocoa for 7-days. Dual energy-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to measure body composition. Blood pressure, anthropometric measurements, biochemical parameters and plasma levels of some cytokines were measured before and after DC consumption.

The results were described as follows:

After DC [dark chocolate] consumption, we observed a significant increase in the HDL cholesterol level (Delta% = +10.41±13,53; p ≤ 0.05), a significant decrease of total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta %= -11.45±7.03; p ≤ 0.05), LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta % = -11.70±8.91; p ≤ 0.05), and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) (Delta % = -32.99±3.84; p ≤ 0.05). In addition, a reduction in abdomen circumference was observed. We also found a positive correlation between changes in atherogenic indices, and IL-1Ra, abdomen reduction.

The authors concluded:

Our findings suggest that regular consumption of DC could be useful in maintaining a good atherogenic profile, due to the favorable effects on HDL cholesterol, lipoprotein ratios and inflammation markers.


This study should debunk several myths regarding chocolate consumption, such as ‘it makes you fat,’ ‘it clogs your arteries,’ or ‘it is bad for blood sugar.’ While low-cocoa chocolate, which is often high in sugar and may contain cow’s milk products, preservatives and lower quality fats, may not translate into the benefits observed in this study, a high-quality, high-cocoa chocolate may go quite a long way in enhancing general health and well-being. This is especially so if one chooses organically-produced, fair-trade and preferably raw chocolate. The raw part is especially important as the potent antioxidant compounds in cocoa are found at much higher and physiologically relevant concentrations in the non-heated and unprocessed forms. Indeed, according to the authors of this study, “[the] health properties of cocoa consumption were mainly related [in previous research] to the antioxidant properties of polyphenolic compounds, among others monomeric flavanols, epicatechin, catechin and oligomeric, procyanidins.”

The specific sample of dark chocolate used in this study was assayed to contain the following compounds:

It is believed that one of the primary lipid-modulating, and HDL-raising compounds in high-quality chocolate is the saturated stearic acid found in the cocoa butter. This is also a counterintuitive finding since many decades of propaganda has convinced the mainstream that ‘saturated’ fats are bad and ‘unsaturated’ fats are good. As the researchers state:

Because of its high saturated fat content, chocolate is often postulated to have a hypercholesterolemic effect. However, the high content of stearic acid (~30% of fatty acids) is considered to be neutral with respect to total and LDL cholesterol, and positive on serum concentration of HDL.”

It is truly remarkable that the dark chocolate was capable of raising the so-called ‘good’ HDL cholesterol 10% within only 7 days. This is a feat pharmaceutical lipid-modulating drugs can not accomplish, unless we are talking about patented forms of niacin (Niaspan) or fish oil (Lovaza), which really don’t count since they are really just glorified dietary supplements.

Previously, we looked at how chocolate – believe it or not – could replace the need for the $29 billion dollar plus cholesterol-lowering statin drug industry, by addressing and remedying the underlying pathology of the blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction) that leads to atherosclerosis and eventual cardiac morbidity and mortality. We feel the research, if you would like to peruse it, is remarkably compelling: Chocolate Gives Statins A $29 Billion Run For Their Money

When it is all said and done, chocolate should not be viewed simply as a natural “medicine,’ to suppress bodily symptoms or clinical parameters, as anyone who ‘loves’ the way it makes them feel can plainly tell. As my friend Marc David pointed out in his recent article on Vitamin P[leasure], the experience of joy within the enjoyment of chocolate is itself a highly medicinal ‘nutritional fact’ that will never make it onto the label of a product, nor will be easily (if ever) comprehended through clinical trials. Let the research support what most of us already know: food can be medicine, yes, but the point is to use it in moderate, culinary doses so that mega-dose, heroic ‘medicine’ will never become necessary. [this is one of the basic principles of my project with Tania Melkonian called EATomology]

For additional research on the health benefits of chocolate and/or cocoa please visit our research page dedicated to the topic:


[1] ROMERO-CORRAL A, SOMERS VK, SIERRA-JOHNSON J, KORENFELDY, BOARIN S, KORINEK J, JENSEN MD, PARATI G, LOPEZJIMENEZ F. Normal weight obesity: a risk factor for cardiometabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular mortality. Eur Heart J 2010; 31: 737-746.

[2] DI RENZO L, GLORIA-BOTTINI F, SACCUCCI P, BIGIONI M, ABENAVOLI L, GASBARRINI G, DE LORENZO A. Role of interleukin-15 receptor alpha polymorphisms in normal weight obese syndrome. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2009; 22: 105-113.

[3] DI RENZO L, GALVANO F, ORLANDI C, BIANCHI A, DI GIACOMO C, LA FAUCI L, ACQUAVIVA R, DE LORENZO A. Oxidative stress in normal-weight obese syndrome. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010; 18: 2125-2130.

[4] MEHRINFAR R, FRISHMAN WH. Flavanol-rich cocoa: a cardioprotective nutraceutical. Cardiol Rev 2008; 16: 109-115.

© June 27, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here

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Hey Ferd, Eat This!

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Have you ever wondered who was the first cave person to ever consider eating an egg? “Hey Ferd, that funny looking bird just dropped something from his butt—let’s eat it!” Or the first person to try eating what they what they thought was bee poo and it tuned out to taste like honey. Ummmm!

Well I’ve got to think that chocolate—or more correctly call cacao—must have had a similar history. Here is all this stuff growing on a tree, “let’s break it open and eat it.” As it turns out mankind (and womankind) got it right and we are still discovering things about chocolate and the over 300 constituent elements that are so healthful for us.

So now we are learning that you might want to consider brushing your teeth with, guess what? Chocolate—yes, I said chocolate. Who came up with this idea to make brushing your teeth just a little sweeter?

New Orleans based Theodent has launched a toothpaste that uses compounds found in chocolate to strengthen teeth. The toothpaste uses a propriety blend, Rennou, which contains an extract of chocolate plus other minerals that work together to strengthen teeth. Rennou is used as a substitute for fluoride in Theodent’s toothpaste.

Theodent represents one of the major innovations in dental care in 100 years,” says Arman Sadeghpour, Theodent CEO. “I know that is a bold statement, but there are almost no other effective and non-toxic fluoride alternatives on the market.”

Rennou is the product of a team of New Orleans researchers who found that chocolate compounds caused microscopic unit crystals of the tooth enamel to grow larger, resulting in stronger teeth. According to Sadeghpour, Rennou actually gives teeth a harder surface than fluoride does and it’s completely non-toxic.

Though the compounds included in Rennou are related to stimulants at most this toothpaste might cause a “mild mood elevating effect” and it is “certainly not physiologically addictive” as caffeine is.

The compounds are not sweet either. The compounds in Rennou come from the bitter part of chocolate, but the toothpaste itself is not bitter and has been released in a whitening crystal mint flavor. According to the company the mint flavor is gentler than most brands and meant to encourage longer brushing.

Theodent Classic is available for sale in some Whole Foods Markets in the US as well as in Canada and eventually will be available at other retailers at a suggested retail price of $9.99. In addition, Theodent 300, an extra strength version, will be marketed to select cosmetic dentists and medical professionals.

Q-91 WafersIf you want to make your heart smile as wide as your teeth then also consider Choclatique’s Q-91 or Elephant Chocolate. You see, it’s more than wishful thinking—chocolate can be good for you. Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. A source of natural flavanol antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore delivering more flavanol antioxidants.

Chocolate and Your Health Hand-In-Hand.

The health benefits of high antioxidant foods have taken the scientific world—and the media—by storm. Recent studies suggest that the plant compounds, which act as antioxidants in foods, may reduce the risk of many kinds of illness, from heart disease to cancer. Antioxidants like those found in dark chocolate and cocoa, called flavanols have also been linked to some of the hallmarks of good cardiovascular health such as enhanced blood flow, healthy cholesterol levels and, in some cases, reduced blood pressure.

Dark chocolate and cocoa contain cell-protecting flavanol antioxidant compounds. Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup of blueberries and 1 1/3 glasses of red wine. Next time, skip the Joe and go for the cocoa.

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This Is The Excuse We’ve All Been Waiting For

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Chocolate Cuts Death Rate in Heart Attack Survivors

I love the smell of chocolate in the morning—and now here’s another reason why. “Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from coronary disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff”, scientists reported.

So for all of you that have had heart attacks or are at risk of having one let me give you our web address, address. We have two products, Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%), that are the low in sugar and are the perfect prescription for what ails you. They are 50 times cheaper and taste better than a Lipitor tablet. This new information alone could cut a couple of trillion dollars off the costs of health care worldwide.

The report went on to say that smaller quantities offer less protection, but are still better than nothing at all. Every little bit helps. If you think I jest, you can find the article that appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol and an improvement in blood flow. It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women.

But here’s the latest news on the subject. The new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper even if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction — otherwise known as a heart attack. “[The study] was specific to chocolate — we found no benefit to sweets in general,” said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and one of the co-authors of the study. “It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate for explaining the live-saving properties,” he shared with AFP in an exchange of e-mails.

Antioxidants are those somewhat mysterious and magical compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules that accumulate in the body over time and can damage cells and are thought to major play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.

In the study, Janszky and colleagues tracked 1,169 non-diabetic men and women, 45-to-70 years old, in Stockholm County during the early 1990s from the time they were hospitalized with their first-ever heart attack. The participants were asked before leaving the hospital about their food consumption habits over the previous year, including how much chocolate they ate on a regular basis.

They underwent a health examination three months after discharge, and were monitored for eight years after that. The incidence of fatal heart attacks correlated inversely with the amount of chocolate consumed.

These findings supported the increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds. The results are the same for both men and women, and across all the age groups included in the study. Other factors that might have affected the outcome—alcohol consumption, obesity, and smoking—were also taken into account.

Elephant ChocolateAs mother used to say, “Everything in moderation.” If you have a weight problem, which can also lead to a heart attacked, stick to about an ounce a day. Enjoy chocolate that is high in cacao content and high in mass with less sugar like Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%).

As the Dr. Strangelove of Chocolate (and the co-founder of Choclatique) my advice is to enjoy chocolate when you can. It is a healthier alternative to desserts in moderate quantities. So take two pieces and call me in the morning.

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