Ah, the sweet siren call of chocolate. Whether it’s a cheap and dirty chocolate bar at the checkout line or an elegant, decadent truffle served with wine, whether you’re scarfing down a nutella sandwich at two in the morning or dipping strawberries into a pot of melted delight to feed your loved one, it’s all about the chocolate (or chocolatl as the Aztecs used to call it – try yelling that out loud three times, surprisingly fun). But is it good for you? (Or more accurately, do we care if it’s good for you?) As always, the annoying answer is ‘it depends’, but recent research has shown us some interesting things about chocolate (chocolatl) consumption that you can tell your friends at the next cocktail party. So scoot in, bring your eyes close to the screen, and listen up.
First of all, Pringles apparently stole their jingle line (Once you pop you can’t stop) from the world of chocolate. Research from the University of Miami and the University of Florida have shown that even having one piece of chocolate can lead to unbearable cravings for more. It’s like the gateway drug to more drugs of exactly the same chocolatey goodness. Eight different researches have demonstrated that having even one high powered mega-chocolate truffle leads to an increase in fatty and sugary foods. So that old line of, “OH HENRY, I’ll just have one, just one, what can little chocolate do?” Don’t even try it, cause SCIENCE has shown such lines of reasoning to be LIES.
Also, having one chocolate can lead to financial ruin (according to SCIENCE, again). It’s true. Those poor, deluded fools who had one of those deliriously good, creamy and rich truffles that melt on your tongue and have that light crunchy texture to the exterior when you bite down on them, the taste flooding your mouth and—wait. Where was I? Just ONE of those chocolates causes a marked increase in the desire for high-end products, like expensive watches, fancy pants jewelry or Apple computers. So watch out. One bite and you might find yourself driving home in a new Mercedes, confused and broke and hating life.
Another tricky thing about chocolate (did you think eating something so scrum-diddly-umptions would be simple?) is that once participants in these research projects felt as if they had reached their goal (say, no chocolate for a week) they were liable to reward their good efforts with—you guessed it, chocolate. Fools! Those who were congratulated on their iron discipline were shown to manifest a marked desire for sugary, unhealthy foods. Which is why people might order a salad for dinner, and then feeling pleased as punch about their good behavior order a Death By Chocolate Cake for dessert.
Is there no way to win? If you indulge in chocolate, you want more and also desire to buy expensive things. If you don’t eat chocolate, you’ll break down and inhale a whole bar as soon as you feel like you’ve legitimately earned the title of ‘Good Little Non-Chocolate Eater’. Must we resign ourselves to always eating chocolate? No, not really. There’s a sneaky way around this dilemma that will actually please nobody despite being true. And that’s to not only remove temptation, but to view being healthy as a state of mind, an ongoing, never ending process as opposed to a tangible effort that lasts for a finite period of time. Instead of saying, ‘I will not eat chocolate or a week,’ and then breaking down next Monday, you should say, ‘I will eschew sugary foods and embrace a bold, new lifestyle of joy and vigor, energy and health!
And then sit there in deep melancholy as your fat-free,a diet vanilla sorbet melts, watching the folks over on the other table chortle with glee as they demolish a Mega Death By Chocolate Mountain Cake, laughing and clapping and succumbing to weakness. Ah, the sweet taste of victory!