Chocolate, the Thinking Person’s Food

August 13, 2013

This is one of those Ripley’s Believe it or Not stories. According to a new study by Harvard researchers, they concluded after studying just 60 people over the age of 65 that “drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day for thirty days was linked with improved blood flow to the brain and better scores on memory and thinking skill tests for elderly people with impaired blood flow.”

They claim that “As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow . . . and this may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

There are some things that bother me about this study. They do not say whether this was a double blind study and the fact that they only studied 60 people over the age of 65, isn’t much of a study.

It might be the impetus to take their study further to determine if there aren’t other factors at work that are contributing to their results, but in and of itself, this study would not be enough to convince serious researchers of its validity.

By their calculations, being the chocolate lover that I am, and having had so much of it in my younger years, I should be a genius with extraordinary thinking skills. But alas, I am not a genius and I don’t have extraordinary thinking skills.

There is a very troubling aspect about this study. Nowhere does it address the very real concern that chocolate and cocoa both contain high levels of sugar.

Children who drink these hot chocolate or hot cocoa beverages become hyperactive from the sugar rush. It is difficult to get them to calm down and their behavior goes off the charts. You can get a very good glimpse of this just by following the kids around on Halloween as they munch on their goodies while they go from door-to-door yelling, “Trick or treat.”

They don’t tell you that sugar content can cause depression. First, you get that surge of energy and feeling on top of the world, and then you come crashing down.

But the more serious threat for hot chocolate/hot cocoa lovers is that the study neglects to warn people that diabetes often occurs in the elderly, their prime focus for this study. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything in the study about whether any of these people have diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Diabetes vs. better memory and thinking skills? I’ll find another way to increase my memory and thinking skills.

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