2012-09-06 / Opinions

Chocolate is good for a man’s health unless he eats his wife’s secret stash

By KIP BURKE
news editor

A s I sit here, savoring a chunk of dark chocolate with my coffee, I have to say, although I often mock medical researchers, some of them are actually heroes of modern medicine and geniuses in their own right.

Why the change of heart? Well, now they’re saying chocolate eaters are less likely to have a stroke. Call the Nobel Prize people, I got your laureate here -- Dr. Susanna C. Larsson with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

She authored the study, scientifically flawless no doubt, with a group of Swedish doctors, rare geniuses all, who followed 37,000 middle-aged Swedish men over 10 years, tracking what they ate. That study, she says, shows that eating a “moderate” amount of chocolate may lower the risk of stroke in men by some 19 percent.

You don’t say.

The new study was published last week in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, says Science Daily. This is the real deal mainstream science here, not some internet woo-woo. And r ememb e r another study was released recently that showed that moderate chocolate consumption was linked with a lower incidence of heart attacks in men.

So, to put this in plain English, eating chocolate not only lessens your chance of a heart attack, but in the latest study it lowered the risk of stroke – by 19 percent, the neurologists say.

This is very good news. I’ve got to tell you, chocolate is a very, very close personal friend of mine. It’s not a rational relationship, if you know what I mean. We go back a long way, and it’s been a relationship filled with pleasure – and guilt. When I was a kid, my parents mostly limited chocolate to special treats and subtle bribes. It was more a holiday thing, and although at Christmastime my mother could make wonderful chocolate chip cookies and dad his stovetop fudge, visiting family members tended to gobble it up faster than I could. (Christmas, of course, is still my favorite chocolate holiday, but now my second favorite chocolate holidays are the day after Halloween and the day after Easter, when all the chocolate goes on sale.)

Back then, if I got one more piece of chocolate than I should have, I felt really guilty. Traditional wisdom said that anything that tastes that doggone good must somehow be really bad for you. Everybody, it seems, believed that chocolate, like sex, was too good not to be unhealthy for you. Chocolate gave you zits, it was fattening, and it clogged your arteries. It also made you feel irrationally good and happy, and if you ate enough, you’d attain a certain state of bliss. Therefore it was terrible stuff, right?

Guilt, guilt, guilt.

My wife, to her great credit, fed both my relationship with chocolate and my guilt by hiding things like Snickers miniatures and dark chocolate squares all over the house, stashing them in limited amounts so that, when I do stumble across the stash, I feel guilty for grabbing one.

But not any more. Now, thanks to the magic of science, things are different. Chocolate is good for the heart, a stroke-preventing miracle food that no loving wife would deny her husband. We’re coming to a whole new understanding on chocolate, one by which she doesn’t guilt me about my chocolate intake, and I won’t raid all her little chocolate stashes around the house.

I know, of course, not to mess with a woman’s chocolate. Many, many years ago, I ate the last bit of chocolate fudge ice cream that my dear bride was looking forward to eating that night, and I still remember both the heat and the chill of her response.

I mean, it’s good that eating plenty of dark chocolate may prevent heart attacks and strokes, but if you regularly put your fool self between a woman and her chocolate, you’re not likely to even make it to old age.

That’s my scientific observation.

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