I am constantly amazed at the marketing machine’s ability to convince people about what really defines health. This product is healthy versus this product which is unhealthy. Very rarely is there any science or data behind these claims, just money.

For example, one of my favorites, which I hear quite often, is the rationalization that chocolate is good for you. I’ll be the first to agree that chocolate tastes good, but is it truly good for you? To answer that I must give you a very brief history behind this claim.

In the late 1990s, Harvard University researchers released a study on the Kuna people located on a small island near Panama. They found that these people had very low levels of Western diseases, including cancers, heart attacks, type II diabetes, etc. The Harvard researchers determined that their amazing health was due, at least in part, to their high level of cocoa consumption. Follow-up studies have agreed.

Cocoa, containing flavanols, particularly epicatechin, is healthy. It is a proven antioxidant and helps keep blood pressure low and good cholesterol up. What the marketing machine has not told you is that the majority of chocolate you buy over-the-counter has minimal, if any, flavanols.

You, too, can get the health benefits of cocoa if you purchase and consume raw cocoa in the large quantities the Kuna people do.

They are not eating Hershey’s candy bars. They are not eating dark chocolate purchased at the local grocery store.

In other words, the “healthy” chocolate ads we so often hear are nothing more than lies to get you to spend your money and feel good about what you spent it on. Consumers beware. Ask someone who knows, and is not funded by the food industry, what truly defines healthy.

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