Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Can We Please Stop Medicalizing Chocolate?

Medicalizing chocolate really isn’t necessary. It’s a simple, harmless, and pleasurable treat. Even a small bit of it is enough to bring a smile. In fact, a new study published in Appetite demonstrates that very fact. Researchers from Gettysburg College conducted a randomized, controlled trial of eating chocolate (the comparison was crackers) and found:

Chocolate appears to increase positive mood, but particularly when it is eaten mindfully.

CocoaViaWhen people were asked to eat their chocolate slowly, mindfully, and purposefully, the positive effect on mood was significant. Eating crackers mindfully did nothing to make people happier. We suspect that swallowing chocolate pills won’t do it either.

So why turn chocolate into medicine?

Worries about medicalizing obesity are easy to find. That worry is needless. Obesity is a real medical problem. Perhaps we should worry about medicalizing chocolate instead. Don’t misunderstand. We have no problems with legitimate scientific research to understand the effects of all kinds of food, including chocolate.

Understanding the physiologic effects of chocolate, coffee, or red wine is fine knowledge to pursue. Quinoa chocolate clusters with extra flavanols? No thanks. We don’t need a medical rationale to enjoy chocolate.

The pleasure that good chocolate brings is enough.

Click here to read the study in Appetite.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake, photograph © Karen Neoh / flickr

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October 10, 2016