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https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/10/18/15995478/chocolate-health-benefits-heart-disease

vox.com

Dark chocolate is now a health food. Here's how that happened.
A year after James Cadbury, the 30-something great-great-great-grandson of the British chocolatier John Cadbury, launched his luxury cocoa startup in 2016, he introduced an avocado chocolate bar. Cadbury Jr.'s newest confection loaded just about every buzzy health trend into a fresh green-and-white package: vegan, ethically sourced, organic dark chocolate and creamy, superfood avocado.

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"Healthy: Dark Chocolate

Mars Inc. - the company that has brought us M&M's or Snickers - sponsored 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers starting from the 80s. Mars controlled the research agenda and only funded the posi...

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Not really good for your health

The biggest health claim is that cocoa lowers blood pressure, but no study has proven that it reduces the risk of heart disease or attacks. And considering the added sugars it probably does more ha...

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The Aztec cocoa

The Aztec cocoa
  • The cocoa we know now is very different from the one that first arrived in Europe from South America (in the 16th century).
  • The Aztecs consumed cocoa as a drink and they believed i...

Cocoa comes to Europe

  • In 1518, Hernan Cortes, a Spanish soldier and explorer reached the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (in the territory that is now Mexico).
  • He and his men drank “chikolatl”, a bitter drink that contained roasted, crushed and then boiled (in water with spices and chilli) cocoa beans.
  • They did not like it, but they knew that the king of the Aztecs, Montezuma II, consumed the drink around 50 times a day. So Hernan Cortes understood the potential of cocoa and brought it back to Spain following his conquest.

Chocolate: the taste we know today

  • After they reached, Europe cocoa beans were crushed and mixed with honey and sugar, becoming a popular drink among the elites.
  • Joseph Fry and Sons made the first chocolate bar in the 19th century, creating what we know as chocolate today.

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Ultra-Processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods like white bread, cereal, chips, and wafers are remarkably common, convenient, affordable, extremely profitable for the makers, come in strong flavors and are aggressively ma...

Our Everyday Foods

We consume ultra-processed foods every day without even realizing it.

  • The morning cereal and flavored yogurt.
  • The savory snacks and sweet baked goods.
  • The vegan hotdog and the chicken nuggets available on the street.
  • The doughnut or the premium protein bar we buy as a snack.
  • The carton-packed almond milk put in our coffee or the diet coke we have.
Apart from obesity, ultra-processed foods are responsible for depression, asthma, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer.

More Light On Ultra-Processed Foods

Most cooked foods can be termed as 'processed foods', but ultra-processed foods are in a different domain, with few people having the clarity to differentiate.

A cooked carrot is processed food, but a bag of industrially-produced, carrot-flavored veggie puffs are ultra-processed and are still aimed at toddlers as a portion of natural food. Other examples include frozen peas or pasteurized milk.

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Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Everyone has a different requirement for water. Temperature, humidity, size, age, gender and activity have an influence on your fluid needs.

Instead, drink when you are thirsty.

Eggs Harm Your Heart

Eggs have a lot of cholesterol compared to other foods. Although cholesterol in the blood is strongly related to heart disease, eating cholesterol is weakly associated with raising the cholesterol levels in your blood.

Eggs have other heart-protecting properties and eating it probably won't harm your heart.

Cancer or Alzheimer’s From Antiperspirant

  • A chain email in the 1990s was responsible for the false belief that antiperspirant was raising the risk of breast cancer. 
  • When researchers found higher ratios of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, aluminum in antiperspirant was suspect. But it seems aluminum in antiperspirant is hardly absorbed by your skin.

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The origins of the breakfast myth

Much of the research suggesting that breakfast is essential for health is funded by cereal makers.

Companies like Kellogg, Quaker Oats and others whose businesses depend on p...

Breakfast and weight loss/gain

There’s no clear evidence that breakfast consumption promotes weight loss or that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain. 

It might actually be a bad strategy for weight loss because eating breakfasts means taking in a higher number of calories/day.

The health halo of breakfast

...is not backed up by research.

It is possible for breakfast to have health benefits, especially for some groups (growing children and athletes), but there’s not a lot of good evidence behind those benefits.

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Food cravings

They are an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person's hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food. We usually feel cr...

What causes food cravings

  • An imbalance or changes in hormones
  • Emotional issues (eating for comfort)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration 

How to reduce cravings

  • Lower stress levels: stress promotes cravings for comfort foods.
  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration manifests itself as hunger, so when you get a craving, drink water.
  • Get enough sleep: not getting enough sleep alters the hormonal balance.
  • Eat enough protein.
  • Avoid hunger: under-eating can make food cravings worse.

The reasons we crave junk food

  1. The sensation of eating the food: what it tastes like, what it smells like and how it feels in your mouth.
  2. The blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates t...

How craving are stimulated artificially

  • Salivary response: the more a food causes you to salivate, the more it will cover your taste buds.
  • Rapid food meltdown: this tells your brain that you’re not full, even though you’re eating a lot of calories.
  • Calorie density. junk foods are designed to convince your brain that it is getting nutrition, but to not fill you up.
  • Memories of past eating experiences: When you eat something tasty, your brain registers that feeling and will bring it up in the future.

Building better habits means changing your environment

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior.

Nowhere is this more true than with food.

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The general Keto diet

The general Keto diet

The Keto diet is one of the biggest diet phenomenons today. It is the most Googled diet of 2018 and has surpassed Weight Watchers and other low-carb regimens, Atkins and Paleo.

The...

Keto is a cultural identity

Keto is more than just a diet. It is a cultural identity.

The Keto diet changes how adherents think about medicine and nutrition. With the fake news that dominates the news cycle, it's not surprising that keto went viral. It's anti-establishment.

Understanding ketosis

The body can only store glucose to last a few days. If we don't eat carbs, the body finds other ways to fuel the body, like ketogenesis. In ketogenesis:

  • The liver starts to break down fat from food and our body reserves. The useful energy source is called ketone bodies and can replace glucose as fuel when there's a glucose shortage.
  • Once ketogenesis starts, the ketone levels rise.
  • The body burns fat instead of the usual glucose.

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Eat often enough

According to research, eating regular meals and snacks at the same time every day helps ke...

Don’t skip meals

Skipping meals actually makes your body less able to assimilate food, and you are more liable to overeat at the next meal. 

If you keep yourself from getting too hungry, you may be able to avoid a bad mood.

What foods to avoid

The biggest bad mood culprits are refined carbohydrates and refined white starches that cause your blood sugar to go up and down like a rollercoaster.

Blood sugar spikes and drops can leave you with a short-lived burst of energy followed by a tired, cranky feeling.

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The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet

The basic concept of the paleo diet is to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods.

Studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss and major improveme...

A general guideline

There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • All Grains.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
  • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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