Kicking The Chocolate Habit

Most of us know at least one chocoholic.
In fact, you may even be a chocoholic! The chocoholic is one who, quite frequently, or continuously is snacking on bits of Hershey bars, M&M's, or just can't do without that piece of chocolate cake after a meal.

Most chocoholic's cling desperately to the idea that chocolate is ok when in every sense of the measure it's not. The smell of chocolate cooking, or the aroma of hot chocolate seems to be a part of the "all American" scene just as apple pie and mom cooking in the kitchen. It is a way of life that few want to give up. But the sad reality is chocolate is not our best friend.

The chocolate business is a flourishing one, and as you might expect, the United States is one of the major buyers. Cocoa and chocolate have become accepted, almost traditional elements of our daily menus. Chocolate cake, chocolate candy, chocolate sodas, chocolate bars, chocolate milk--would America be America without these items on the menu? Yet the story of cocoa and chocolate leads us finally to the conclusion that we would be far better off had the tasty brown substance never reached our shores.

Chocolate: Not Best For Children

The committee on Foods of The American Medical Association had this to say on the subject: "Special recommendations for children are not permissible for foods consisting largely of chocolate or cocoa; no objection will be taken however to such recommendations in the case of foods that are merely flavored with chocolate or cocoa and which in the quantities likely to be consumed are free from any probable effects due to theobromine or caffeine." The amounts of chocolate being consumed by our children in this present day cannot by any stretch of the imagination come under the heading of 'flavoring'. Enormous quantities of chocolate are being used. We are told that even very inferior grades of cocoa are eagerly sought after for the present world demand for cocoa far exceeds the supply.

Chocolate High In Calories

Cocoa and chocolate are among the foods highest in calories. In one pound of the original chocolate, after its first processing, there are 2,182 calories in fats, 482 calories in carbohydrates and 221 in proteins. This adds up to about 3,000 calories. In one pound of good plain processed chocolate there are about 2,500 calories. Milk chocolate has over 2,600.

Chocolate, a Source of Caffeine

One of the most famous sources of caffeine is chocolate, also made from the seeds of a tropical tree. Chocolate, which contains a lot of fat and is very bitter, must be mixed with sugar to make it palatable.
From their book Chocolate To Morphine, by Andrew Weil, M.D., and Winifred Rosen, they state: "How about chocolate? Most people think of it as a food or flavor, but it contains a chemical related to caffeine, is a stimulant, and can also be addicting."

A bar of chocolate, as you would buy at the store, contains 78 milligrams of caffeine (a drug)--about half as much as the average cup of coffee.

Caffeine stimulates the heart, raises the blood pressure, lowers the blood sugar, creates a false sense of security in that it appears to relax and rest tired nerves.

What else does chocolate contain? Interestingly enough it contains a substance called oxalic acid. Oxalic acid has one very undesirable quality. It combines with whatever calcium is in the plant and by this combination, renders that calcium useless for assimilation by human bodies. When you think you are being a kind host or hostess and serve your guests or family hot chocolate, chocolate cake or other chocolate goodies, remember you are depriving their bones and teeth of calcium.

Theobromine in Chocolate

In addition, cocoa and chocolate have another substance like caffeine and that is theobromine which also produces the same undesirable results in body metabolism as the caffeine does.
If you drink a cup of cocoa for breakfast, you will be drinking one to two percent theobromine. This is, like caffeine, an alkaloid. It is closely related to caffeine and acts like caffeine in the body. In other words, it is a drug and is very active chemically .

Top nutrition experts were asked to name the 10 worst junk foods and they all agreed cola-flavored drinks (made from the cocoa bean), was at the head of the list and just a couple of"places down followed chocolate items.

Some More Chocolate Defects

It is vaguely understood by most people that the use of beverages, such as coffee, tea, colas, or chocolate, all containing methylxanthines (rhymes with Ethel Francine) cause physical or physiologic damage.

Methylxanthine is known as caffeine, theobromine and theophyllin. It is not well known, however, that these ill effects are serious, and may involve any organ or tissue from the scalp to the bottom of the feet. The reason for this widespread damage is to be found in the chemical nature of methylicanthines, their ability to alter the very protoplasm of cells, and to attach or concentrate in cells for an unknown period of time. Methylxanthines are found in other beverages, as well as those mentioned above.

The immediate effects of methylxanthines begin shortly after taking the drink, food, or medication containing them, and last about four hours. After eating chocolate or drinking cocoa you may have imperfect balance, racing of the heart, high pitched voice, insomnia, fatigue, and finger tremor. Some individuals will experience an unexplained sense of dread and anxiety. Other symptoms may be delayed for hours or several days and include sleep disturbances, headaches, restlessness, palpitations, tremulousness, unsteadiness, vertigo, reflex hyper excitability, irritability, agitation, anxiety and general discomfort.

If one is accustomed to the regular use of chocolate, one may feel less alert, less contented, more sleepy and irritable. Many troublesome diseases are made worse by methylxanthines--heart disease, allergies, diabetes and fluid retention. Depression may be caused by them, and they most certainly contribute to our "violent society" with its crime and child abuse.

Chocolate And Contaminants

In a booklet published by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare entitled The Food Defect Action Levels, a specifications listing of current levels for natural or unavoidable defects in food, lists the natural defect levels in chocolate in the form of "insects, rodents and other natural contaminants" that are allowable by the Food and Drug Administration. Allowed in chocolate and chocolate liquor used in the manufacture of such products as in chocolate bars, up to 120 insect fragments per cup or two rodent hairs per cup.

Four percent of cocoa beans may be infested with insects and still carry the blessing of the FDA. Visible or solid animal excreta must not exceed 10 milligrams per pound. For chocolate powder or pressed cakes there must not be more than 75 insect fragments in 3 tablespoons of the powder!

Sugar, Chocolate and Tyramine

Sugar is often combined with chocolate, which contains a chemical called tyramine, and is absorbed by the nerves. Tyramine can act as a stimulant or a depressant, which can cause competing reactions with the serotonin in sugar. this head-on collision, researchers say, adds to the addictive quality of chocolate. The five chemicals in chocolate also cause the body to burn sugar faster, urging the chocolate lover to eat more chocolates to satisfy this sugar need. As with any addiction, the chocolate habit can take on a life of its own.
Chocolate can also cause depression. We live in a time of more addictions than ever to choose from. And with more depression than ever in history most of us are witnessing first hand, people with mental problems. Psychological illness now hospitalizes as many people as physical ailments do. Add to this those in outpatient clinics, in institutions, and who weekly visit private psychiatrists and psychotherapfists with mental or emotional problems. This is about three times the number treated for mental illness in 1940.

People who regularly consume chocolate or go on chocolate-eating binges may not realize that they are involved with consuming a mild form of drug. Their consumption usually follows the same sort of pattern as with coffee, tea, and cola drinkers. Chocolate, which comes from the coca plant contains fourteen drugs. Cocaine comes from the coca plant and is the most important part to drug users.

Chocolate should definitely be an item that is eliminated from our diets. There is a food substitute for chocolate. CAROB! This is a substitute that is much more favorable health wise as well as being processed under more sanitary conditions. Why not try this healthy substitue today.

Candy consumption has gone up by more than three pounds per person in this decade, and the American obsession with ice cream is at an all-time record level.

Department of Commerce

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31

For more information regarding health books, other FOH tracts, or health lectures write or call:

P.O. BOX 827
Phone: (541) 474-6835
Fax: (541) 474-0980

FOH pamphlet #005--Chocolate Printed in the United States of America
Copyright @ 1997 by Katy Chamberlin