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for chocoholic’s edification

February 21, 2012


Bon appetit!

We all LOVE chocolate, right? This seductive smell…mmm… Chocolate chip cookies in the counter of Starbucks, chocolate brownies made by our grandmothers or mothers when coming home for a break, the infinite and unlimited choice of chocolate production in Safeway or Whole foods…  We buy it when we feel good or bad, upset or happy- all that does not matter when you get chocolate! Even our teachers recommend us to eat it before taking a test! Unfortunately for me, I am allergic to chocolateL. Yah, it sucks I know. In fact, few years ago I overdosed on chocolate by eating the whole birthday box in 30 minutes. After few days of painful itching and unpleasant doctors’ visits my diagnosis shaped to: “chocolate allergic”. Since then, every article about chocolate attracts my attention. The post ”The Curious (Toxic) Chemistry of Chocolate” is not an exception. It primarily focuses on the poisonous effects of chocolate (aha!). An author presents the theory that the alkaloid, called theobromine is exactly a substance that makes chocolate dangerous. In the same time, being a mild stimulate, theobromine is the compound that could be responsible for your success on the exam! The overdose of theobromine is 0.8 -1.5 grams that is contained in 50-100 grams of cocoa. Pretty tricky, huh? Not so much for humans as for other mammals! Anyone familiar with house pets such as dogs and cats should agree that it s strictly prohibited to GIVE CHOCOLATE TO THEM. According to the article, 200 mg/kg of theobromine is contained in dogs organism which mean that even small amounts of chocolate are dangerous. At this point I blush: I still remember feeding my dachshund with chocolate behind my parents back.

Apart from stimulate properties of theobromine it dilates blood vessels, bringing down blood pressure and considered to be diuretics: so, hopefully, there are some positive effects. However, its interaction with nervous system is not as effective as caffeine. So I guess a cup of double espresso will be more effective in the exam than a chocolate bar… I’m not a bitter enemy of chocolate, but I get slightly frustrated sometimes when ALL cookies in a store are with chocolate that is not even indicated properly on the cover! Anyway, chocolate consumption is the dietary private decision of each person; my point of view supports Deborah Blum and many other scientists who agree that everything is good but in limited amounts.

Have a nice lunch!


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