Thursday, March 15, 2007

Does Chocolate Add Sweet Years to Men's Lives?

tidbits that tantalize


Dang!





OK, OK. Careful here. You've studied too long to let it all slip away over a rash decision. Just because it seems obvious doesn't mean it's true. After all, that's the whole idea of "You're Right, I'm Wrong - I Should Have Seen it Coming From a Mile Away!" Despite its unwieldy title, the game show has been a huge hit and has a fanatic following.

Affectionately known as the "Dang!" show by fans, it's a quiz show anomaly: It has no studio, but films its segments in a variety of locations about the city. Today's show is taking place in a health food supermarket and today's theme is "Longevity."

You should know this. It's a simple question - which of the three 60-year-old men standing in front of you is most likely to live the longest? Hmm... You check their shopping carts. Guy 1 has a decent selection, lots of fruits and veggies, some cheese, a loaf of spelt bread, low fat milk, a bag of walnuts and some orange juice. Not bad. Guy 2, well - this simplifies things. His cart is stocked with nothing but potato chips, cakes, pies, candy bars and beer. It's all organic, but still... OK - Guy 3. Interesting - very interesting. His cart is filled, to the top mind you, with a single food selection: chocolate. Dark chocolate - in many varieties, styles and textures, but only chocolate, nothing else.

Well, this seems simple enough. Feeling quite confident, you step to Guy 1, the fruit and veggies guy, and make your selection. Nano-seconds later your dreams of game show dominance crash about your feet as the host sadly shakes his head and the audience loudly cheers: "Dang!"

Really? According to scientists in Finland, men who eat chocolate appear to live healthier lives than men who abstain. The study found that men who routinely eat chocolate have slimmer waists and are less likely to have diabetes. Those who eat chocolate also tend to be somewhat better educated than those who eat other types of sweets - fortunately, the study did not find incidences of chocolate snobbery to be statistically significant.

The study followed a group of men, now in their 70s and 80s, for over forty years. The chocolate eaters not only reported feeling healthier, but also reported being less depressed, experiencing less loneliness and were more likely to be making plans for the future. Wow - where's the chocolate?

You wander the streets in a fog, your game show prowess crushed. Then it strikes you. You rush into a corner market, make a beeline to the candy section and reach for the dark chocolate. Coming up empty-handed, you read the sign: "No dark chocolate till Thursday." You hang your head in despair and whisper, "Dang!"

To read more about the health benefits of chocolate, see this from About:Longevity. To read more about the history of chocolate, see this from The Field Museum.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Chocolate keeps popping up as the food-to-go-to! I wonder though, if the chocolate eaters in Finland were just the healthy, educated ones to begin with...and thus had other good health habits to go along with the chocolate? I try and exercise, eat right, AND eat chocolate every day, lol

12:36 PM  
Blogger sylvia c. said...

Tim,

Your articles always have me saying, "Huh, I didn't know that."

Then, I have to share your wide-stretching wisdom with someone!


Thanks for keeping me informed (and in the most entertaining way!)

Truly,

Sylvia C.

11:07 PM  

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