Are Chocolate Health Benefits "Nutrifluff"?

Are Chocolate Health Benefits "Nutrifluff"?

Are most of the health claims about the benefits of chocolate "nutrifluff"? Prof Marion Nestle, a nutritional scientist at New York University, uses the term to describe “sensational research findings about a single food or nutrient based on one, usually highly preliminary, study”. 

Various benefits of chocolate made headlines throughout the years, including claims of reduced risk heart flutters, strokes and preventing cognitive decline. Yet at the end of the day, The European Food Safety Authority has approved only one chocolate-related health claim – that some specially processed dark chocolate,  “contributes to normal blood circulation”.

As it turns out, most studies on chocolate and health get industry funding - a fact which is rarely highlighted when a news story appears. Importantly, unlike in drug trials, chocolate studies participants often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo. They have positive expectations about chocolate... because they like it! 

While chocolate makes for a delicious treat, you might want to take its health benefits with a grain of salt. You might also consider carob, which challenges chocolate as a healthful snack. 


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