Chocolate is good for us – for now, at least…

Chocolate is good for us. How many times have we heard that, and hey! – here it is again. Chocolate reduces stroke risk for men, research claims (the Guardian, today). But if men, why not women? Or did the study target only men, for commercial reasons? Is this, in fact, research as advertising?

Which prompts another question – by whom was this research funded?  Usually, when this sort of report comes out – and we’ve seen its like before, many times for many different products – it has the sticky fingerprints of the chocolate (or wine, or whatever), industry all over it.

And another. Apparently, “cocoa flavonoids” are what provide the benefits, so why not drink cocoa, thus avoiding the high levels of fats and sugars in manufactured chocolate? OK, not all the sugar – I like sweet cocoa.

Personally, I tend to ignore this type of stuff anyway, as there’ll be a contradictory report out pretty soon, I’m sure. I mean, look at eggs – consigned to the high-cholesterol wilderness for years, then reinstated when it was found that ingested cholesterol wasn’t the risk it had always been assumed (ingesting the precursors of cholesterol, like saturated and hydrogenated fats, was the problem). Now eggs are bad for us again, or so it’s claimed.

It’s garbage. Moderation in most things, including chocolate and eggs, is absolutely fine, if a tad dull. I have heard that moderation can be applied to beer too, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a legend . . .

And moderation brings us back to eggs, and much of the negative research stems from the US, where egg consumption is very much higher than pretty much anywhere else, due to their fondness for scrambled eggs.

I like eggs, maybe 2 or 3 a week, but more often than not, if I buy half a dozen, 2 or more will be uneaten (my mind seems perverse of the subject of eggs; if I have none, I want to eat them, once I have them, the urge passes). For me, 2 large eggs, fried, is a good portion; 1 would be insufficient, 3 too much. When it comes to scrambled eggs, though, 2 look positively parsimonious, even 3 give a pretty meagre portion. Omelettes are much the same, I’d never eat less than a 3-egg one (thick, fluffy, buttery, and gorgeously golden, oozing melted cheese).

Looking at the average American serving of scrambled egg (which might well have added cream, which I’d never do), I reckon you’re seeing 3 or 4 eggs, probably plus cream.

So, when someone declares “eggs are bad for you,” it pays to check out the source,** and if that source is the US then it’s very good odds that it applies to no-one else.

**In fact it always pays to check the source, and especially who funded it.


14 thoughts on “Chocolate is good for us – for now, at least…

  1. so ingested cholesterol is NOT bad for you after all? or is it? talk about confusion.and if it is bad,then goods like benecol spread and yoghurt drinks plus all other brands of yoghurt drinks that claim to reduce your cholesterol are now defunct??
    as for choc. as a so called borderline diabetic i eat 2-4 squares of choc a day ,often evening time, it doesnt put my blood sugars up by much and im still managing to keep them below the 7 they say is normal.cholestral was just below the 5 but that was in april this year.been working on lowering that value since then.
    just had blood taken today for that and thyroid function to see if/how much difference it has made lowering my thyroxine by half a tablet.

    • I think the chocolate research is probably a bit iffy, but I’ve got a tub of cocoa, so I’ll give it a try. Also got myself some decaff Carte Noir coffee (can’t have anything with caffeine now, which is a bummer as I like espresso). Smells good, anyway – haven’t tried it yet.

      If you look at how long Benecol and the like take to work, I got better results, and cheaper, when my cholesterol was nudging double figures, on a high soya and oat diet what was extremely effective. On my next check I was down to 6.5.

      It wasn’t as dire as it sounds. I had a lot of soya protein (some products are quite tasty, and I’m pretty good with soya mince), plus soya milk, and porridge for the oats, along with oatbread – that’s when I started making my own. I ate things like cheese and eggs as normal, too, plus fried stuff occasionally, which was usually sausages as I don’t like steak or chops.

      Cheaper, by the way, because I didn’t have to buy anything extra, just soya versions of what I’d normally eat (apart from fish and there’s no cholesterol in that).

      Which reminds me, Tesco do a soya burger, a bit like fried beer mats! But lightly fried, then cooked in onion gravy, they make a very passable veggie version of braised steak. I’d forgotten about those – must buy some. I’m not a veggie these days, but I do like the occasional veggie meal.

      But yes, eggs were cleared a few years ago until, quite recently, someone decided they were “as dangerous as smoking” (but a real bugger to light, apparently!). Not seen the research, but I have seen it widely rubbished by doctors, and so it should be – almost nothing is as dangerous as smoking!

      Talking of Thyroxine, I started taking it when I lost nearly all my body and facial hair to hypothyroxia and my GP wouldn’t prescribe because my thyroid test was “normal”. Most of it grew back, and where it didn’t you can’t see, but a couple of years ago I noticed I was getting a bit thin on top – hardly surprising at my age.

      Anyway, recently, because I’ve had so much buggeration with meds, the Thyroxine tended to get forgotten, and when I cut my hair yesterday, for the first time in weeks, I noticed it’s as thick on top as the rest of my head now. Not the faintest idea why!

      I don’t care anyway. Tonight I’m having home-made Lorne sausage, and three eggs, scrambled.

      • well i went today for my COPD review… results were slightly worse than last time, not surprising as last time i had not long before had a chest infection which refused to go so had been on double strength antibiotics, prednisolone and my sprays were upped to 4 times a day instead of twice with ventolyn as and when needed. i lowered them back to normal but found that i cold not manage without the middle dose around 5.30pm. so have stuck with that for some time. peak flow wasnt as level but at least i dont getout of breath as this time my results were bound to be a bit worse,whilst there the nurse also made out cards. (a new system of recording they have started) .cards we take home with the results of our tests appertaining to whichever condition we have. (gonna need a filing cabinet on its own if they issue them for every condition ive got 2 cards today. 1 for COPD the other for my diabetes as my review for that isnt due till next april.. my cholesterol last time had gone down by .1 to 4.9 but they want it down to 4.0. as ive been feeling very tired of late, and my thyroxine had been lowered as i said before, they took a blood test for both thyroid function and cholesterol levels. so will know if 1. its that lowered dose thats making me tired. 2. if benecol has done any good. had to stop the benecol drinks and a lot of dairy foods as its now thought i might be lactose intollerant. i tried soya milk. but it was sweet. yuk. been wondering about that almond milk. have you tried that?
        think i must be going for guiness book of records for the persn with most diagnosed was 25 now lactose intolerance if its definitley diagnosed.
        i still eat a bit of chocolate tho each day. 2-4 squares a day.most days.hate cocoa though.
        ive been borderline hypo/hyperthyroid for over a year now.after being hypo for the last 30 years (well just under 29 really) until a young new doc decided enough was enough. and lowered the dose by 25mcg.gonna have to start aking for figures though as i cannot understand how i could have been borderline. my imaginatio draws 1 line between the 2 conditions.even tho i know theres a margin. but not wat that margin is.

        • Not tried almond milk – don’t like nuts (you can get rice milk too). You can get unsweetened soya milk (Alpro Long Life), it’ll make you realise why it’s sweetened! It’s disgusting.

          I’m mystified by people being told they’re lactose-intolerant late in life – or in their 20s for that matter. It’s a genetic condition. Like coeliacs, you’re born with it, you don’t grow into it.

          There are doctors who think people with COPD shouldn’t drink milk as it contributes to mucus formation – never did with me but I know it does with others. That’s not intolerance, though – it’s just a reaction.

          • i was drinking/using a heck of a lot of it.both skimmed and semi skimmed. skimmed for cooffee made entirely of milk (5/6 mugs a day) and semi for cereals. plus would drink it if i had a bit of indigestion. started getting loose (not diarhoea) bowels. fibogel and stopping using all but the minimum of milk and dairy products appears to be fixing that tho if i miss taking a fibogel its loose again. (what a subject)and she lowered my thyroxine too as i was borderine and had been for over a year in spite of being underactive for 30 years and on same dose all that time with no im feeling really tired all the time. no energy.who fixes these levels i wanna know? surely if we are all different ,different levels of all these things could be nrmal for each person.

            • Umm… Coffee is a laxative, you know, and half a dozen mugs a day would certainly make its presence felt.

              British doctors have their heads up their collective arse when it comes to the thyroid. As you probably know, there is a scale for thyroid function. In the UK, if you’re anywhere on the scale, you’re “normal”. In the US, it’s different, and received wisdom is that the higher up the scale you are, the better.

              I, however, despite showing all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, am “normal” – so I decided to implement the US system and set out to push myself up the scale. I started low – 25mcg – and almost immediately began to improve.

              Long story short, I stabilised on 50mcg and that’s what I take now. If I’d listened to my GP, I’d have been seriously ill long ago, not to mention completely bald all over!

              • hmm.maybe i should go back to the 150mcg ive been taking all this time and been fine on. and yes i had wondered about coffee. good thing that did happen this past month is my fasting blood sugar. been less than 7 every day and less than 5 this past 2 weeks.
                i was overactive as a single 25year old.weighed only 6stone wet thru and donkeys appetite.put on carbimazole. they wanted to do a thyroidectomy…..i said no. mainly because it was just to save them paperwork as we had intended moving to another county. that didnt happen but got married and got pregnant within 6 weeks. 7 months into that all symptoms went. fast forward to aged 40 diagnosed with underactive thyroid. been on thyroxine 150 mcg daily ever since. good job i didnt let them do the op back in 1967.

                • Yep, pregnancy can do that, as the body becomes a support system for the foetus, and imbalances in the body’s metabolism are often balanced out to provide a favourable environment for the foetus. Women who have seriously poor health often report feeling better during pregnancy, for that reason, even though it’s not actually for their benefit.

                  At 14 I was 3 stone – if I’d not had a heavy frame I’d have been even lighter. It wasn’t until my 20s (at 22 I had a 28″ waist), that I began to very slowly put weight on – a process that’s only recently stopped!

                  • lol all through my nursing career up until that first pregnancy i maintaned a 17″ waist. matron was for ever pulling me up short by grabbing my belt and saying “you never put weight on do yu nurse?” they even tried anabolic steroids on me for a few weeks dianabol if my mind serves me correct. i managed to reach 7st 7lbs couldnt get any more on.lost it again when i stopped taking the pills. of course i didnt know i had the overactive thyroid at that time….until i had the kids then the weight gradually appeared til at 35 i weighed 13.5 spite of walking miles,everywhere.finally lost 4stones when i got divorced. but put it on gradually after moving to this bungalow.. bounced the last stone and half on after stopping smoking but have lost that now plus another half stone. am now 8lbs lighter than wen i was smoking but still need to lose 1stone 9lbs to get back to what i was when i first moved here.10st.6lbs.

                    • Hmm . . . Steroids are responsible for much of my weight, but retained fluid has been revealed as a massive culprit too. When I first started on diuretics, I dropped 3 stone in about 10 days. Then regained it, and lost it again . . .

                      Over the past week I’ve lost – including about 3lb regained and lost again – just over a stone.

                      Yep – stress will drop your weight every time!

                    • WELL that kinda puts my few lost pounds into perspective Ron.though you seem to know WHY you lost the weight.i ,by rights, should have slowed down a tad seeing as my thyroxine was reduced slightly.but i havent. (tho i think it is responsible fr the tiredness im feeling)i shall monitor over the next week and if i continue to lose too much too quickly ill be getting onto my doc.

  2. oh and like yu. I eat eggs but not that often and nearly always land up throwing SOME away. have even been known to throw a couple of dozen at a time once wen i got enough to make a big batch of buns made with sweetener and was too badly to do them.the eggs stayed in fridge for months. till i one day threw em out.

    hope you enjoy your soya burgers. i cant eat fried foods.unfortunately. would have to grill if i got any.tho not a fan of burgers.

  3. I grew up being told a little of what you fancy is good for you, in fact my 95 yr old aunt swears it’s your body telling you what it needs; & I just choose to take note of her. x

  4. yes jayne, thats how i was brought up which is why ive tried to eat normally as i can but with obvious sugar restrictions cos of the diabetis.but i still eat cakes. as a borderline diabetic on diet only with blood sugars below norm of 7 now, in spite of eating them i dont see why i should give them up altogether,

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