Just a spoonful of polyphenols…

[Image from Milk And Cookies. Check out her other recipes while you’re there, especially the orange and date tart.]

The latest in chronic fatigue syndrome symptom control? 45 grams of dark chocolate a day. The effect was small, but the trial seems to have been quite well-designed, with blinding and a washout and crossover design. The BBC reports:

Patients in a pilot study found they had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown.

Researchers from Hull York Medical School said the results were surprising but dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin.

I worked with a lipid physiologist back in the eighties who was trying to get the message across to the world that real chocolate, despite tasting terrific, isn’t sheer biochemical evil. A large body of work has now been published showing the health benefits of moderate amounts of dark chocolate. So why do most people still seem to consider “chocolate” the ultimate in junk food, intrinsically “sinful”?

Ditch the trans fats if you want to ditch a family of fats, grab a bar of Lindt, and enjoy.



Categories: health, Life, medicine, Science

Tags: , ,

6 replies

  1. Actually, since Lindt are one of the companies *known* to use child slaves to pick their cocoa, might I suggest that grabbing a Lindt bar and enjoying is at the expense of small poor children, and perhaps you should grab a fair trade chocolate bar and enjoy?
    Anything certified organic is fine as Australian certification process requires that all ingredients in the product are produced in accordance with Internation Labour Laws (this includes no slavery in the production process).
    There’s an excellent video and some slave-free brand suggestions here

  2. Suggestions are welcome. A list of places to buy within Australia, even more welcome!

  3. It’s a bugger Green & Blacks have been sold to cadbury and is slowly but surely paring back ‘fairtrade’. The Oxfam shop won’t sell them now – but they are a good place to find ethical chocolate. There are some organic brands for sale in my local supermarket but I think they tend to be no more than 60% cocoa solids. You really need 70% for a decent antioxidant hit.
    I’m not entirely convinced that the increased energy found in the CFS study wasn’t due to increased caffiene in the darker chocolate.

  4. I’ve not seen any credible evidence yet that CFS fatigue is measurably improved by caffeine. (Personally, I’ve had to give it up almost completely, as it makes me feel dreadful.)
    On the other hand, there’s every possibility that this study didn’t use stringent entry criteria, so they may have studied a collection of tired people, some of whom didn’t have actual CFS. I haven’t found a peer-reviewed publication of the data, so I can’t assess that side of things.

  5. Try the fairtrade locator – http://www.fta.org.au/locator
    You can enter different regions of Australia, enter chocolate, and it comes up with a list of retailers!

  6. When I had CFS coffee was no help at all. After many years of dedicated tea and coffee drinking, I pretty much gave them up. 70% dark chocolate on the other hand, had no ill effects. There were so many enjoyable things, former friends, that started making me feel awful, but good quality chocolate never let me down.
    Even if it doesn’t make the CFS better, it’s good to have one treat that doesn’t make you feel worse! And eventually, with a very very slow fitness plan with an exercise physiologist, I got better. I still need to be careful about not overdoing it though. I’d be interested to see if you find any peer reviewed papers, I’m curious to see how they selected CFS patients without getting people who were ‘just’ tired, or depressed.

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