Last week, a friend posted this somewhat dubious ad for the British Heart Foundation on Facebook. I’m going to ignore the childish innuendo for now, because I want to talk about the message behind the ad.
“DECHOX for March” is a campaign by the highly respected British Heart Foundation to try to get us to give up chocolate for Easter.
The implication being that chocolate is clearly bad for your heart and giving up chocolate for a whole month will be a beneficial challenge.
Except giving up chocolate is categorically not beneficial for your heart. Many, many scientific studies have conclusively proven that chocolate is beneficial to your heart, and can help prevent a whole range of other ailments. You’ll find links to just a few articles on the subject below.
The message doesn’t seem to have got through to the experts at the BHF though.
@chocablog Hi there! We're challenging people to give up chocolate just for March – not for health benefits, but because it's so tough!
— BHF (@TheBHF) February 16, 2016
You might be thinking that the research only applies to intense, bitter, high cocoa solids chocolate that nobody really enjoys eating anyway. But you’d be wrong. Research has shown that even milk chocolate can be beneficial to the heart.
When I asked the BHF why they thought it was a good idea to encourage people to quit something that is beneficial to heart health, their response was simply that it was a “tough challenge”.
Of course, if you really want to promote heart health, eating a balanced and healthy diet can play a major role. Decreasing the amount of sugar you consume is generally a very good idea, but encouraging people to give up chocolate entirely is not. It reinforces the message that chocolate is somehow bad without explaining why.
Most of us could use help with improving our diets. But if you really care about your heart, don’t ‘DECHOX’ this Easter, but take the opportunity to switch up to better quality chocolate.
There are hundreds of craft chocolate makers producing amazing tasting chocolate these days. They use high quality, fine flavour beans, so even at higher cocoa percentages they won’t be bitter or unapproachable. For the milk chocolate lover, a great dark milk bar will last you at least a couple of days. You’ll consume less, but get even more out of it.
If you don’t know where to start, then take a look at my friends at Cocoa Runners. They have an amazing selection of bars to cater for every taste and a great recommendation system for finding the perfect bars for you.
- Why Milk Chocolate May Be Good For Your Heart – June 2015
- The Lancet – Inhibition of LDL oxidation by cocoa – November 1996
- Gut bacteria turn dark chocolate healthy – March 2014
- Two chocolate bars a day ‘reduce risks of heart disease and stroke’ – June 2015
- Cocoa, blood pressure and vascular function – August 2012
- The sweet truth about bitter chocolate and why it’s good for you
- Dark chocolate ‘may lower blood pressure’ – Augst 2012
- Cocoa fights colon cancer – February 2014
- The Sweet Truth – Chocolate Can Be Heatlhy – February 2009.
- Cocoa, The Health Miracle