Chocolate, Friend or Foe?
Article revised on 27 March 2018
Chocolate is one of the most decadent treats out there. It’s loved both for its taste and the comfort it provides. It comes in several varieties including white, blonde, dark and milk chocolate. People all over the world indulge in chocolate, but can this particular pleasure of life be enjoyed guilt-free? Maybe! Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of eating chocolate.
Chocolate at the office, yes or no?
The link between chocolate and cognitive health has not been studied much to date. But recently, a team of researchers decided to look into the matter. Through a series of neurological tests, they noticed significant improvement in memory performance when chocolate was consumed more frequently.
It’s true! And it’s partly due to the flavonoids contained in the cocoa. Even though this study is promising, the results are preliminary and more long-term studies are required to determine the optimal quantity of chocolate to consume to maximize its benefits.
For the moment, enjoy in moderation and treat yourself to one small, 10-gram square of dark chocolate a day. Ideally, look for chocolate that contains 50% or more cocoa.
Chocolate and mood
One particular study looked into the link between chocolate and our mood. The concept of conscious eating, also known as intuitive eating, was integrated into the study. With this approach, you’re more attuned to your body’s hunger cues, know when you’re full and how to perfectly savour every bite. Your environment and emotions play an important role in creating a healthy and balanced relationship with food.
For the study, one group of participants was given chocolate to eat, and another was given crackers. Researchers observed that the consumption of chocolate had a positive effect on mood. Furthermore, this positive effect on mood was more increased when chocolate was eaten mindfully. Conversely, the study was not as conclusive with participants who ate crackers, whether in a mindful or non-mindful way. In short, these results confirm that we must pay as much attention to the choice of foods we eat as the context in which they are eaten.
Expand your horizons and go on a journey to discover the endless variety of food that is available to you on the market. Did you know that Quebec chocolate makers provide top quality products? If you’re not crazy about dark chocolate because of the strong taste, you can opt for chocolates with a lower cocoa content. The taste is milder and your taste buds can adjust to it gradually, so that you will in time be able to go from chocolate that contains 50% to 70% cocoa to 85% to 90% cocoa.
In conclusion, a small piece of chocolate after lunch can be beneficial to your performance at work. However, eating too much chocolate means consuming too many calories and as a result, putting on excess weight. Remember that moderation is always in good taste!
Now all that’s left to do is stash a chocolate bar in your desk drawer (and share with your colleagues!). But don’t waste time on the chocolate bars you find in convenience stores or by the cash register at the supermarket. Chocolate is a bit like wine: You must look for quality, savour it and sometimes pay a little more for it. You’ll appreciate the difference!
 Georgina E. Crichton, Merrill F. Elis, Ala’a Alkerwi. Chocolate consumption is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study,” Appetite 100 (2016) 126-132.
 Brian P. Meier, Sabrina W. Noll, Oluwatobi J. Molokwu. “The sweet life: The effect of mindful chocolate consumption on mood,” Appetite 108 (2017) 21-27.
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