Chocolate - eat or not to eat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 January, 2010, 12:00am

Children love chocolate. Some of us may even have stolen chocolate from the fridge and been caught by our parents. Adults often warn children against eating chocolate, saying it contains too much fat and leads to obesity. I agree that chocolate has a high calorie content and can be addictive, but it's not all bad. It has a long history, dating back to Mayan times. People in South America and Europe also used cocoa - the main ingredient in chocolate - to treat diarrhoea.

Modern studies have found that small amounts of dark chocolate can reduce the possibility of a heart attack. Researchers are looking into the role chocolate could play in fighting cancer, boosting the immune system and enhancing memory. Chocolate is also a 'comfort food' that can help relieve the stress of city life. Why not take a break and drink a cup of hot chocolate?

Like Forrest Gump said: 'Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you are going to get.'

Carrie Lau, Yan Chai Hospital Law Chan Chor Si College

From the Editor

Thank for your letter, Carrie. Chocolate in itself is not addictive, says Sunday Young Post's nutritionist, Wynnie Chan. She explains the 'addiction' as a 'naughty but nice' feeling. It's comfort food. You think you shouldn't have it but you do, and there is little obvious harm.

But I would say the addiction to chocolate is more about an addiction to sugar. Real, pure chocolate is very bitter and almost impossible to eat except for the few die-hard fans. People who take their chocolate that strong actually eat very little of it. Most folks can't even finish a single square. If you eat good quality dark chocolate, you don't need very much of it. You can get some at any good chocolatier in town. Anything above 65 per cent is considered intense, and it is vastly different from what you normally consider chocolate.

If you are eating the sugar-laden candy-bar variety of 'chocolate', you get an instant rush of sugar which makes you feel good. You begin to associate eating chocolate with feeling that good. Afterwards, however, your blood sugar level dips and you want more.

Susan, Editor