Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocolate vs BMI

In the past, I've been ranting and raving about eating less & exercising more in order to get healthy.  But perhaps it's not so simple as calories in vs calories out.  Perhaps what we eats is as important as how much we eat.  For instance, would a diet of 1,500 calories daily of potato chips, ice cream & steak be truly healthy?  Or would 1,500 calories of non-fried fruits & vegetables, whole grains, poly- & monounsaturated fats, and lean protein be a better choice?  Yet the former diet is so much easier to consume (and fun, I might add).

Along this line of thinking, chocolate has traditionally been considered a fun food, perhaps even junk food.  Certainly, until recently, chocolate was not considered a health food.  And given that chocolate has been sold, at least in this country, as candy, that's not surprising.  But a number of studies have linked consumption of dark chocolate, not the more common & sweeter milk chocolate, to health benefits, eg heart failureheart disease & cardiovascular risk factors.

And in a short research letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this week, the authors studied chocolate consumption in close to 1,000 participants of a statin study.  After taking into account the usual confounders, they concluded that chocolate consumption was associated with lower BMI (body mass index) despite the fact that chocolate consumption was also associated with greater consumption of saturated fats and not associated with activity.

Now this cross-sectional study doesn't give you free permission to change your diet to 1,500 calories daily of chocolate candy, but it does make us reconsider whether what we eat is as important as how much we eat.  Anyone want to volunteer to be a research subject in future chocolate studies?

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