Chocolate Smarts?

18th Dec 2013

Being a helicopter pilot is a mentally demanding and very rewarding hobby.  It requires math skills along with a basic foundation of logic and hand eye coordination.  The challenge and exhilaration of being a helicopter pilot is one of the best things in my life.  And after reading the latest findings from a British research study, I think I can justify eating chocolate right before departure. Well not actually, and this is likely not a good example of a true science study, but we can at least fantasize right? Okay, read below to see what they did in their study. 


The researches claimed that chocolate is beneficial for mentally challenging tasks -  I can hope it is but I bet this study has some flaws in it. 

The finding suggests students who binge on chocolate before exams may gain a benefit.  Flavanols, part of a group of polyphenols found to some degree in chocolate, may increase blood flow to the brain.  In the study thirty volunteers were asked to count backwards in groups of three.  The findings showed that the individuals who drank dark chocolate before taking the test seemed to perform the calculations more quickly and more accurately then those who had not been given a chocolate drink.  The test was repeated several times and it had the same results each time. Test subjects seemed less likely to feel tired or mentally drained after drinking hot chocolate.The researchers gave the volunteers a total of 500mg of flavanols derived from dark chocolate and cocoa.

The whole piece was clearly funded by a chocolate company to help justify chocolate consumption, as if we all need reason?! Anyhow the truth of it is that more research is needed to prove the findings and to see if these findings are accurate and can be repeated every time.  

I personally enjoy chocolate as part of my diet and in some subconscious way I like to justify eating it when I read studies like these, even if they aren't real scientific studies (30 people is not enough of a group to truly make this a real scientific study representing the population in general). 

It is important to know that all food in moderation plays a part in metabolic success. What you read out there online or in the paper might be a big line of B.S.. There has definitely been a lot of research on chocolate and health but it likely has been funded by chocolate companies with an agenda (to sell more chocolate). Of course I hope you buy tons of chocolate from my company, but trying to sell chocolate as a medicine is clearly not ethical. 

Bottom line is that chocolate is a fun food and should be enjoyed in moderation as a nice accessory to life  - it is not a medicine.