Chocolate. Milk, dark, white, with dried fruit, nuts, decadent, satisfying, melt in your mouth…….just a few descriptions for the thoughts that come to mind. It is known as a high calorie, high fat treat that has been around since early civilizations. Research with dark chocolate has come out in recent years that dark chocolate is high in anti-oxidants. Antioxidants can potentially reduce risk for many chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and stroke. There has also been research associating chocolate with improving blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. It seems there is a 2 sided coin for chocolate: on one hand, research suggests cocoa beans have beneficial health properties, on the other hand chocolate products are usually high in calories, sugar and fat. Another chocolate study just came out of the Archives of Internal Medicine that has some more very interesting results that chocolate lovers will like.
Researchers studied over 1,000 male and female research subjects and measured their frequency of eating chocolate, food frequency recall, calorie intake and exercise. What was no surprise was that increased chocolate intake was statistically significantly associated with higher calorie and saturated fat intake. Increased chocolate intake was not, however, associated with increased activity. Despite this, subjects who had higher chocolate intake had a statistically significantly LOWER BMI. Chocolate intake was not associated with fruit and vegetable intake, and when age, sex and activity levels were adjusted for, the significance between BMI and chocolate intake remained the same.
This study suggests that calorie quantity alone does not regulate weight, but other metabolic effects play a role in weight regulation. In rats, a compound in chocolate called epicatechin, increases mitochondria (what the body uses to burn fat as a fuel) and muscle mass. Could the same effect be seen in humans? Maybe so. It seems all the more reason to enjoy some quality chocolate, in moderation of course. The cheap, sugary stuff with added artificial ingredients is a far cry from the health properties from the actual cocoa plant. Who has the best Boulder chocolate? Well, that certainly is up for debate, and to answer this for yourself must include trying all Boulder made chocolate.
Chocolove is a Boulder based company spearheaded by chocolatier Timothy Moley. These brightly colored chocolate bars range from 33% cocoa content in milk chocolate to 77% cocoa content in dark chocolate. Chocolove pairs brilliant flavor combinations together like cherries and almonds in dark chocolate, salted peanut and milk chocolate or chilies and cherries with dark chocolate. They are sold in many locations nationwide and have been featured in many major media sources. Chocolove are made with all-natural ingredients and the classic techniques of Europe’s finest chocolatiers. They are made in small batches and with lots of love, of course.
Boulder Chocolate Shops
If you’re walking on the west end of Pearl Street, you may just want to wander into Piece, Love and Chocolate. Their chocolates are definitely gourmet and beautiful! They offer various chocolate classes and you can also order off their website. On the other end of town is Concertos in Chocolate in Gunbarrel. This chocolate shop offers unique, hand made chocolates available in store and online. Their spin on chocolate is not the average American sweet chocolate, but more a sophisticated palate that is less sweet and more flavorful.
Let’s support our local chocolate makers and also support our health by enjoying some chocolate. Of course, keep in mind the moderation rule still applies, and by no means does this negate the fact exercise and a balanced diet are still important. Note: on average study participants ate chocolate 2 times a week and exercised 3.6 times per week.