Chocolate’s sweet side

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: January 31st, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you are what you eat, does that mean chocolate lovers are especially sweet? Maybe not, but a new study finds that those who regularly indulge in bon-bons, truffles or other forms of chocolate may react differently to it than the rest of the population.

The study was commissioned by Nestle, the maker of candy bars such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth and Kit-Kat. Researchers examined eleven men who were self-described chocolate fanatics and eleven men who said they were indifferent to the candy. Over a period of five days, they were fed either a daily dose of chocolate or a placebo.

Analysis of blood and urine samples showed the chocolate lovers shared a specific metabolic profile. Regardless of whether they ate chocolate that day or not, the chocolate fans all had low levels of L-D-L or bad cholesterol. They also had slightly higher levels of a beneficial protein called albumin [al-bew-min] than the non-chocolate fans.

So does that mean chocolate is good for you? Unfortunately, that wasn’t really the point of the study. Researchers were trying to learn more about how the metabolism works. What they found is that a person’s diet appears to imprint itself on the metabolic system, attuning people to the food they prefer to eat.

But as Valentine’s Day draws nearer, don’t despair. There have already been several studies showing chocolate… the dark stuff, especially… offers lots of benefits. Researchers have found chocolate contains antioxidants that can help lower your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.