Human beings, scientific human beings especially, have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. Remember when it got the blame for acne, for heartburn, for making you fat, for causing IBS? Then, it was reimagined as a nutrient superhero — dark chocolate lowered blood pressure and reduced your risk for heart disease. Ultimately, the only universal and consistent take on chocolate is that it tastes good.
Flip-flops of that sort would be amusing if they weren’t so ubiquitous and didn’t contribute to an overall cynicism among people looking for intelligent health information from the expert community.
If the experts can’t agree, then how are the rest of us to muddle through?
The Atlantic Monthly recently cited a study by Dr. David Katz, a researcher at Yale University Prevention Research Centre, who was asked by Annual Reviews to examine the relative merits of a number of popular consumer diets including low-carb, high-fat, low-fat, Mediterranean, DASH and Paleo, well, you know the drill.
The criteria was good health and the clear winner was… none of the above.
While some of the diets reflected elements associated with sound nutrition practices, the best bet, says Dr. Katz, when it comes to staying alive longer and feeling healthy for our lifetime, is to avoid processed foods and eat mainly plant-based foods, such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, seeds and nuts.
You knew that already, right?
Knowledge, it seems, is not the problem. According to the article, Dr. Katz is quoted as saying that we could eliminate 80 percent of the chronic diseases that afflict us if we would only apply what we already know instead of pursuing a nonexistent formula for instant success that promises to make us beautiful, slim, healthy, long-lived and oh, yes, still eat all the chocolate we want.