As if any of us needed an excuse to eat more of the good stuff… ‘Cocoa Helps MS Patients Feel Full of Beans Again,’ a recent headline blared following the widely publicised findings of a rather small-scale research project. The study found that patients who consumed hot cocoa high in flavonoids saw an 80% improvement in walking speed as well as 45% subjective improvement in fatigue. It’s always nice to think that the food & drink that we like are good for us, which is why I believe this particular study received so much interest. However, I can’t help but think that this is complete and utter baloney. I initially didn’t even bother to read beyond the headlines when they first appeared, dismissing it as just another one of those awful theories.
I have pretty solid reasons as to why I believe these findings are a load of rubbish. You see, my diet is jam-packed full of flavonoids. As well as some fruits and veg, flavonoids are found in the darkest of dark chocolate, the reddest of red wines and the richest of hot chocolate – all of which form my staple diet, particularly the wine. To put it simply, with my diet I should be positively bouncing around with energy. But I’m not. Everyone knows that eating chocolate releases endorphins, so it’s no surprise that chocolate can temporarily make you feel better – it is even used for medicinal purposes in the world of Harry Potter. I am, however, still to be convinced of its energy enhancing powers.
I even did my own little experiment. Treating myself to a dairy-free hot chocolate during my lunchbreak this week I sat in the café drinking, relaxing and pondering. Expecting, or perhaps hoping, that my depleted energy levels would magically restore in time for my return to work I finished my drink and bounced back into action, skipping off to work. That’s a lie. I actually sat at the table for a good 10 minutes or more trying to summon enough energy to move, and when I did it was with a pathetically lethargic effort that saw me dodder about to put my coat on and fumble with my stick before I could safely shuffle out of the building. I can only surmise from my own study that my walking speed deteriorated by around 80% and my fatigue worsened subjectively by about 45%. On the plus side, my mood was lighter, especially once I got home and knocked back the red wine accompanied by a big slab of 85% dark chocolate.
Anyone care to add their own findings to my study?