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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Twrdy

Chocolate - healthy?

After the approaching end of Lent, wild feasting starts again, i.e. chocolate bunnies at Easter.

It's said, that chocolate might be even healthy. But is that true?

The theobromine contained in the unsweetened cocoa powder is chemically similar to caffeine and has a stimulating and mood-enhancing effect on the body. Other mood-enhancing ingredients are phenylethylamine (amphetamine), tryptophan (serotonin) and anandamide (cannabinoid). However, the mood-enhancing effect of cocoa cannot be explained by the ingredients alone and apparently also includes psychological influences.

Bitter-chocolate with a high cocoa content, can greatly raise the level of heart-protecting antioxidants in the blood for a few hours. However, by drinking milk at the same time, this effect is eliminated, which is why the consumption of milk chocolate does not have the same physiologically positive effect as bitter chocolate.

The effective antioxidant is the flavonoid epicatechin.

In addition, chocolate consists to a large extent of fat (cocoa butter) and sugar, which means that consumption in large quantities is definitely not healthy.

If you want to make your own chocolate instead, it is best to use fair-trade cocoa butter and sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey. You can even replace the sugar completely with (chemical) sweeteners.

By the way: In Austria around 6.5kg of chocolate is consumed per year per capita, that's ranked average in Europe.

Poisonous for pets!

Attention: Pets such as dogs and cats can only slowly break down the theobromine contained in cocoa. It is therefore far more toxic than for humans.

The lethal dose for a dog is about 300mg per kilogram of body weight. This corresponds to about 1.5kg of whole milk chocolate for a 10 kilogram dog. However, for cocoa powder (theobromine content 28.5mg/g), the lethal dose for the same dog is already only 100g and for bitter chocolate (theobromine content 16mg/g) is about 190g!

Fatal poisoning is usually due to cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthermia or respiratory arrest. In dogs, doses between 16 and 100mg per kilogram can lead to symptoms of poisoning, e.g. an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate, narrowing of blood vessels, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea.

If chocolate has been consumed in large quantities, you should vomit the animal as soon as possible and consult a veterinarian immediately.




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