Who Wants to Sign Up for Chocolate Pills?
How can chocolate pills make sense to anyone? But apparently they do. Bloomberg reports that chocolate extracts sold for heart health have grown twice as fast as dark chocolate. CocoaVia, a dietary supplement of flavanols extracted from cocoa, is ringing up sales that have tripled in the last year. Someone is seriously confused. Food is food, medicine is medicine, and pleasure is a good thing, except when you start trying to get it from drugs.
It’s best not to get mixed up about these things.
Food generally makes poor medicine, even when theoretically active components of food are extracted to make a dietary supplement. There’s a reason that dietary supplements are required to be labeled with a warning that they are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It’s because they generally can’t.
And if you take enough of an herbal supplement to have a real effect, there’s a good chance that the effect will be bad. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine documented 23,000 hospital visits per year due to dietary supplements.
Bogus dietary supplements should not be confused with vitamins and minerals that people actually need to take sometimes. In special circumstances — for example, after bariatric surgery — a vitamin or mineral supplement can be vital for health.
But cocoa extract is not a vitamin. If you have a cardiovascular problem, a good doctor can prescribe safe and effective drugs that will help you live a longer, healthier life. A chocolate pill won’t do the trick. It says so right on the label.
If you need to enjoy some chocolate, by all means do it. Get some good chocolate and savor it. Don’t gulp it down in a pill. Occasional pleasures make life complete.
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November 21, 2015