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My Easter Message (a Chocolate Warning)

My Easter Message (a chocolate warning)

Easter is upon us and chocolate, in various guises, but mostly egg shaped, is at the entrance of every supermarket, newsagent and confectioners. It?s the perfect excuse to eat yourself in to a chocolate stupor, no?… NO!

Why succumb to this marketing madness? Just because Easter weekend has become yet another commercial frenzy of selling over-priced, poor quality chocolate (in the loosest of terms) gunk, does not necessitate you to eat obscene amounts of said gunk and, worse still, allow your children and loved ones to stuff themselves stupid too.

I?m not being an Easter Grinch. If you want to have some choc for traditions sake, then fine, but reign it in and be sensible. Have good quality, dark chocolate, with a high cocoa content, as this is the only good thing about chocolate. Cocoa contains fabulously healthy anti-oxidants and lots of the master mineral, magnesium. So having some of the dark stuff after your Sunday lunch, great! A couple of pieces that is and maybe covering some nuts, even more goodness and less yuk.

Standard milk chocolate is just nasty. It usually contains some skimmed milk powder, maybe some cocoa butter if it?s half decent, probably vegetable oil if it?s a cheap chocolate bar and a small amount of cocoa and then there will be sugar, sugar, sugar.

Food manufacturers make it their business to know the perfect combination of fat and sugar to make their products literally addictive. The opiate sensors in your brain, the same sensors that light up when a drug addict has a hit, when a cigarette smoker takes a drag and when an alcoholic has a drink ? that same area lights up when you have a food containing sugar and fat. This makes having just one small piece almost impossible. It goes beyond willpower, as a very primal part of your brain will be driving you to eat more and more. Few foods exist in nature that are so calorie, fat and sugar dense. Hence, our primal brain thinks it?s hit the jackpot when you eat something so energy dense and will drive you to eat until it runs out ? your brain is working on the principle that this is a rare find. Of course these days it?s ubiquitous.

But again I don?t want to be a misery guts, of course it?s good to have a bit of what you fancy, but at what cost ? seriously? How will you feel after your chocolate frenzy on Sunday (if it hasn?t already started)? Those sugar highs, followed by energy lows; headaches, migraines even; sugar cravings and low mood, not to mention the increase in body blubber. Is it really worth it?

If you want some help with holding back on the chocolate, remind yourself of this fact: cancer cells need a lot of energy as they reproduce themselves very quickly. Cancer cells, unlike healthy cells, can use only one source of energy as fuel ? that fuel is glucose (sugar). As a result, cancer cells have ten times more insulin receptors per cell than any of the normal cells in the body. Insulin is the means by which glucose is transported in to the cells, so the more insulin receptors, the more sugar gets in to the cells. So in short, cancer cells have ten times more capacity to use glucose than healthy cells in the body.

The medical word are well aware of cancers love of sugar. PET scans, used to track the progression of certain cancers,? use radioactively labeled glucose to detect sugar-hungry tumor cells which then show up on the scan.

If this doesn?t put you off your cr?me egg (I hate to think what?s inside one of those evil things but I can pretty much guarantee it will include vegetable oil and sugar in abundance), then I don?t know what will. Of course, I could go on about how sugar makes blood sugar shoot up, triggering excess insulin, which then puts you in to fat storage mode while also increasing inflammation throughout the body and reducing telomere length (look at a previous post on telomeres to find out why having shortened telomeres speeds up the aging process). But enough of a lecture for now. It?s Good Friday, so enjoy your weekend, but please consider having a healthy one as well as a happy one.

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