Happiness Life Strategy: Enjoy (a little) chocolate, guilt free!

image Are your chocolate indulgences tarnished by fears of cholesterol, cavities, pimples and fat?

Well fret no more, chocoholic chums – a recent SparkPeople article has set about busting these and other chocolate-coated myths.

Now before you install chocolate at the base of your personal food pyramid, take note: the quantities you can savor before the guilt-free swing-tag falls off are not large. The article quotes 1.4 ounces or about 40 grams – somewhere between a fun size and regular size chocolate bar.

Here’s a paraphrased summary of the article:

Myth: Chocolate puts you in caffeine overdrive.
Busted! A 4-ounce chocolate bar and 8-ounce chocolate-milk drink each contain 6 mg of caffeine,  versus 65-135mg in a regular coffee.

Myth: Chocolate kicks up your cholesterol.
Busted! The saturated fat in milk chocolate doesn’t raise cholesterol the same way other fats do. Eating a 1.4 ounce chocolate bar can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Myth: Chocolate is nutritionally bankrupt.
Busted! Chocolate yields magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and has the same amount of antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red wine. A daily dose of the dark stuff can help lower blood pressure and improve insulin resistance (but don’t abandon medication!).

Myth: Chocolate rots your teeth.
Busted! Milk chocolate’s mouth-clearing fat content shortens sugar-tooth contact time and its protein, calcium and phosphate may actually protect tooth enamel.

Myth: Chocolate gives you migraines.
Busted!  Research findings say nope.

Myth: Chocolate causes zits.
Busted! Twenty years worth of studies say nuh-uh.

Myth: Chocolate makes you a fatty boombah.
Busted! The average chocolate bar contains 220 calories, not so high that you can’t enjoy it now and then.

With Cupid just behind us and the Easter Bunny hippity-hoppitying his way over, it’s good to know we can indulge ourselves, moderately, in the pleasures of chocolate.

Be wise and be happy.

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Image: Scyza

By Michele Connolly

Choose to be happier – and you will be.