Dr. John Berardi gives some insight on the benefits of chocolate as part of an athletes diet.
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Good Chocolate and Bad Chocolate Hi. It’s Dr. John Berardi here with Competitor.com. And today, I’d like to talk about chocolate -- specifically, the health benefits of chocolate. Now, come on -- can chocolate the ultimate guilty pleasure, actually be good for us, but Cornell researcher Chang Lee chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology thinks so. You see he did a study comparing the antioxidant content and activity of green tea, red wine, and cocoa. And guess what they found? Cocoa has nearly two times the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times the antioxidants of green tea. You see, it appears that cocoa contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, yet the good stuff found in grapes, berries and wine. Further, cocoa contains a healthy dose of catechins and epicatechins, that’s right, the good stuff found in green tea. Finally, the cocoa seems to lower blood pressure due to its effect on nitcric oxide production. But hold on a second, before you ripped off that Snickers bar, it’s important to note that we’re talking about cocoa here and not milk chocolate. You see, there’s a big difference. Milk chocolate typically contains sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk or milk powder and vanilla as the base ingredients. And something like Snickers contains much more including lactose, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, corn syrup, milk fat, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, egg, and more. All that means is that you’re getting very little real cocoa per bite. So, it’s pretty much a real milk chocolate-liked is the play. And it’s 100% junk food, plain and simple. Real chocolate is another story. Real chocolate is a very simple product. It contains cocoa and it contains cocoa butter -- that’s it. And as a result of this simplicity, real chocolate has virtually no sugar, is high in fiber and is loaded with maximum doses of polyphenols and catechins. For example, above 100% chocolate contains 8 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of sugar, while 70% cocoa contains 2.5 grams of fiber and 14 grams of sugar. And the Snickers bar, 1 gram of fiber and 30 grams of sugar. My conclusion -- if you’re going to eat chocolate, go 100% or go home. Stick with the very high cocoa stuff, 95% are greater just make sure you choose a good brand. High cocoa chocolate can be bitter if you choose a cheaper brand. So go with the high quality stuff -- from Domori for example, an Italian chocolate maker or Pralus, a French chocolate maker. In the meantime, continue to eat well and train hard and I’ll see you next time on Eat & Run.