Thursday, 14 June 2007

Alcohol and chocolate

I suppose the title of today's blog alcohol and chocolate does not seem quite right for a fitness blog but as I am a great believer in having a little of what you fancy it seemed appropriate.

Only yesterday I was reading that Cadbury Schweppes are introducing a line of low fat chocolate, supposedly a healthy alternative but then low fat usually means stuffed with artificial sweeteners and flavours so is this really a healthy option?

I like Amy Winehouse's new approach, despite her being renowned as a lover of multiple alcoholic beverages she is now turning over a new leaf and adding a shot of fruit juice to each beverage, What a great excuse to carry on drinking and yet still argue you are being healthy.

Joking aside, alcohol certainly poses many health risks and for binge drinkers and alcoholics it is definitely no laughing matter. I cannot plead innocence in this matter as I am very partial to real ale and despite claming to be a health professional I feel justified in having the odd pint or two or three. Again we come back to the topic of moderation and also thinking about what our drinks actually contain. A study carried out several years ago at the University of Plymouth looked at the high number of additives in certain lagers and noticed a direct correlation between sales of these drinks and recorded instances of anti-social behaviour. As the advert says – please drink responsibly!

So back to chocolate, is it really all that bad? If any of my instructors are reading this, and I know that a few of them are very partial to a bit of chocolate, then they may be pleased to know that chocolate can be good for you. Chocolate is linked to serotonin levels in the brain which may explain why some people feel happier after eating chocolate; this is not entirely proven as other studies argue that we like choclate because it melts at body temperature giving a nice physical sensation when being eaten. Remember chocolate is a stimulant and therefore should always be taken with caution, although if taking stimulants are your concern then you should be far more worried about the effect of overindulging in coffee. Too many stimulants are definitely not good for you, but as with alcohol there’s a bigger picture to think about. How much sugar does your bar of chocolate contain and how much phenethylamine, I could bore you with a list of other chemicals but again I resort to my moderation argument and advise simply reading the label on your bar of chocolate to give you an idea of what might be in it.

I am now probably the most unpopular person in the world having written negative things about two of people’s most favourite sins - alcohol and chocolate - and will also take responsibility for those who have read this and have been reminded how much they like chocolate, and have therefore gone out and bought a bar or worse have just nipped out for a quick beer.

To finish I announce my miracle cure, drinks lots of water then at least whatever toxins you have introduced you are half way to flushing them out! Stay healthy and happy x

Websites you may find useful: (a good one if you like chocolate!)

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