Chocology: A study of chocolates


Satyarth Prakash Nayak,CNN-IBN
Dec 15, 2007 at 06:15pm IST

New Delhi: Chocolate is no longer sinful. In fact it is good for the body and the brain.

So, after Biology and Psychology, it is now time for Chocology — the study of chocolates and its various health benefits.

If you are like the millions of other people who are addicted to all things sweet, chocolate is the final word when it comes to boosting your mood.

And what could be sweeter than all those studies listing out the benefits of chocolate— perhaps a job that requires you to study chocolates?

Basically, Chocology tells you that there’s more to the chocolate than what meets the eye.

“We call it Chocology. That is because it is about chocolates, which is very obvious. And when we talk about it, it’s got physiological and psychological benefits. So in a way, it is also Biology," says Cadbury’s Professor of Chocology, Paul Hebblethwaite.

Various studies over the past few years have listed out the benefits of eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, as it is rich in flavanols that prevent fat from clogging the arteries. It also helps reduce the risk of stroke, heart attacks and blood pressure.

Chocolates also have more antioxidants than red wine and tea, which protect against free radicals. This dark delight is also rich in vitamins like B1, B2, D, E and minerals like potassium and magnesium.

Professor Hebblethwaite says, “Chocolate has caffeine which makes you feel awake and gives your brain a buzz. Serotonin plays a part too. Serotonins are mood-inducing chemicals that make you feel mildly euphoric and happy.”

And if Chocology is to be believed, chocolates are good for the teeth as well.

“Coco used in making chocolates contains tannin which coats the teeth, and acts as an anti-plaque and anti-bacterial agent,” says Hebblethwaite.

But of course it's not all black and white. Chocolate does, after all, pack in the sugar and the calories. A regular slab of milk chocolate has over 250 calories. And doctors point out other hazards too.

“Chocolates may increase the blood cholesterol level and it may cause acidity. Chocolates can also trigger some kinds of headaches, particularly for people who suffer from migraine or vascular headaches,” says Dr Meenakshi Jain of Max Hospital.

But ultimately it is about balancing all those extra calories by eating less of other things. So eat in moderation and earn your treat.

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