Why runners should eat chocolate

No need to deny yourself the good stuff, here's why you should indulge guilt-free the smart way.

by Ruth Emmett
Getty Images

1/ It keeps you trim

After two weeks of 100g daily dark chocolate rations, study subjects at the University of L’Aquila, Italy, showed lower insulin resistance than white-chocolate chompers.

Why do you care? Because insulin resistance hampers your body's ability to regulate blood sugar, potentially leading to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

2/ It lowers your blood pressure

Just 30kcal of dark chocolate per day (two squares of a little Green & Black’s 70% bar) can lower your blood-cuff stats, found a German study at University Hospital of Cologne, Germany. Adults were given a daily dose of dark or white choc for 18 weeks - the white stuff had no effect on blood pressure; those on the antioxidant-rich dark side came back with a three-point drop in systolic blood pressure.

3/ It boosts your staying power

From reducing your cholesterol levels to easing inflammation, the antioxidants in chocolate could help tackle your risk factors for heart disease – which in turn means you can exercise safely, for longer. One Harvard University study found apples to be the only food with a higher antioxidant count per 100kcal. As if you needed another reason...

Is your bar choc-full?

Leeds University researchers looked at the total antioxidant content of the nation’s three favourite chocolate flavours. Here’s how the bars stack up in terms of procyanidins, a heart-healthy flavonoid:

White: 0g
 40.6mg per 100g 
93.5mg+ per 100g*

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Discuss this article

I watched a programme that showed how the flavernoids (which is a bit less ambiguous than "antioxidants") were largely lost in the process of turning the beans into a slap of chocolate. Furthermore, the contents of flavernoids varies so much in dark chocolate, depending on the bean.  As a purchaser of chocolate,  one could not keep to a consistent high intake because of no labelling on the product and no one product stemming from the same consistent supply of beans.

I still find the evidence I'm told of to be very conflicting. Safest bet perhaps to carry on with the advice of having it in moderation along side a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

Posted: 17/05/2014 at 14:23

spoil sport :P


Posted: 17/05/2014 at 15:09

Seriously, who loses any sleep over this sort of thing?

Enjoy the stuff but don't eat too much of it. Simple as.

Posted: 17/05/2014 at 21:30

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