Get your taste buds ready chocolate lovers. Monday, July 7, Chocolate Day, is one of three annual holidays set aside for celebrating the cocoa bean treat. But before you chow down on your celebratory candy bar, you may be wondering: will eating chocolate make me break out? Is dark chocolate healthier for me? Will eating too much chocolate make me gain weight? Rest easy, my chocaholic friends, here are the top five chocolate myths debunked:
Myth #1- Eating chocolate will make you break out.
Despite the widespread belief that eating chocolate will cause acne, the original 1969 study, (the only controlled medical study of the myth to date) shows no correlation between the two. “Chocolate has been implicated in the role of acne for decades without any convincing data to support or refute this theory,” Duke University dermatologist Diana McShane said in a report from DukeMedicine.org.
A review from the Journal of the American Medical Association (via MNN.com) shared a similar sentiment, reporting: “Diet plays no role in acne treatment in most patients … even large amounts of chocolate have not clinically exacerbated acne.”
Myth #2- Chocolate is high in caffeine.
While some popular chocolate brands do contain more caffeine than others (Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate contains 18 milligrams of caffeine compared to the 9 milligrams in their traditional milk chocolate bars) nibbling on a bar will not equal a similar buzz you would get from drinking a cup of coffee. Caffeine Informer says a 12 ounce cup of Starbucks traditonal brew contains 260 milligrams of caffeine, far more than the amount included in one chocolate snack.
Myth #3- Eating chocolate will make you gain weight.
As it is with most tasty treats, consuming too much chocolate may result in weight gain; however, there is hope for chocoholics. Discovery News reports eating a small amount of chocolate five days a week has been found to actually alter metabolism and ultimately shrink your waist line.
“The presumption has always been that because chocolate is full of pesky calories and eaten as a sweet, that it would be associated with higher BMI," said Beatrice Golomb, an internal medicine doctor at the University of California, San Diego. “This is not a randomized trial and we shouldn't necessarily make recommendations from it, but for now, people can feel less guilty about moderate chocolate consumption.”
Myth #4- Chocolate causes headaches.
Similar to bright lights and alcohol, chocolate has also long been considered a food known to trigger migraines but the sweet treat may not be a culprit. “Perhaps the triggers only exert their effects when the brain is already susceptible to a migraine,” suggested Dr. Randall Berliner, a neurologist specializing in headaches at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City via Health Daily.
"You eat chocolate and you get a headache. Does that mean chocolate triggers the headache? What probably happens is the first symptom of your migraine attack is the desire to eat chocolate," Dr. Stephen D. Silberstein, a professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University and the director of the Jefferson Headache Center told CBS News. "Just like when you're pregnant, you might want pickles or ice cream. That's one end of the spectrum where the desire to do something is part of the migraine attack, not the trigger."
Myth #5- Chocolate is good for you.
While dark chocolate is rich is flavonoids (the same antioxidant found in vegetables and fruits), its powers, which have been known to increase heart health and prevent diabetes, are noticeably reduced when ingredients such as butter, milk and sugar are added. To enjoy the taste of chocolate while still receiving its health benefits, Women’s Health Magazine suggests opting for chocolate which contains large percentages of raw cacao in place of milk chocolate.