MYTH: Chocolate causes cavities.
FACT: Not so. Normal consumption of milk chocolate, especially at meals, does not cause an increase in cavities. Research at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, Mass., has shown that chocolate has the ability to offset the acid-producing potential of the sugar it contains. Acid is believed to damage tooth enamel and cause decay.
MYTH: Chocolate causes acne.
FACT: No, it doesn’t – and it doesn’t aggravate acne either. Studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Naval Academy both showed that chocolate has no affect on acne.
MYTH: Chocolate milk is bad for children.
FACT: That’s False. It actually furnishes more zinc, potassium and iron than plain milk – and it’s no more likely to cause tooth decay than plain milk.
MYTH: Chocolate contains too much caffeine!
FACT: The amount of caffeine ingested when people eat chocolate in normal quantities is very small. One ounce of milk chocolate, for example, contains 6 mg. if caffeine, little more than the amount found in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Moreover, there have been no reports in the scientific literature of any health problems among children or adults as a result of the caffeine consumed in chocolate.
MYTH: Cocoa butter affects cholesterol levels.
FACT: A new study of cocoa butter, the only fat in plain chocolate, indicates that cocoa butter does not raise levels of cholesterol in the blood, despite its total saturated fat content. This finding, published in the journal Nutrition Research in March 1988 by David Kritchevsky, Ph.D., and co-workers at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, University of Pennsylvania, adds to scientific evidence gathered over the past 30 years that cocoa butter behaves differently from other fats containing relatively high proportions of saturated fatty acids. Kritchevsky’s findings begin to address the concern raised in a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine (May 12, 1988) that the beneficial effects of the high stearic acid content of cocoa butter may be offset by the presence of palmitic acid, a saturated fat.
MYTH: Chocolate is high in its fat content and can lead to weight gain.
FACT: Chocolate, in moderation, can be part of low-fat eating. An occasional chocolate treat can also help you stick to your healthy diet. Health professionals and nutritionists suggest that the calories from fat should account for no more than 30% of your daily caloric intake. A typical 1.5oz. milk chocolate bar contains 13 grams of fat; a dark chocolate bar contains 12 grams of fat. It is has a higher percentage of cocoa, which studies have shown is full of antioxidants.
MYTH: Chocolate is high in sodium.
FACT: According to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the maximum Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for sodium is 1,100 to 3,300mg daily. A 1.5oz milk chocolate bar contains 41mg, while the same size dark chocolate bar contains only 5mg.