Toblerone: A Chocolate Paradise, A Chocolate Dream

Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate with Honey and Almond on Amazon …
The 14.1 ounce bars (that’s right almost one pound) are really fun! Not recommended to eat the whole bar in one day — good luck!

So all foods in this column aren’t perfect examples of health, but chocolate does have some surprising possible benefits:

There is a possible relationship of cocoa and associated flavonoids or bioflavoids. Flavonoids are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity (1, 2, 3). However, it is now known that the health benefits they provide against cancer and heart disease are the result of other biochemical pathways as well. Flavonoids may increase nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels, which lowers peripheral resistance in blood vessels. A population study helps back this up. Residents of the island of Kuna in Panama rarely develop high blood pressure. A study by Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg (4) reports that they drink about 5 cups of cocoa each day and include it in many recipes. When residents leave the island long term, the risk of high blood pressure increases. The study was able to eliminate salt intake or obesity as a factor.

Chocolate might help blood flow by lowering the stickiness of platelets — an effect like low dose aspirin (5).

And science even helps confirm how chocolate makes a person feel better (6, 7, 8) and perhaps live longer (9).

One negative finding besides the obvious extra calorie and fat consumption is a study that found that daily chocolate consumption by older women is related to lower bone density and strength (10).

1. Waterhouse A, Shirley R, Donovan J. Antioxidants in chocolate. Lancet 1996;348:834. [No abstract available on]

2. Miraglio A, Chocolate’s Potential for Health Benefits. Nutrition Notes May 2001.
[Analyses show that cocoa powder, dark chocolate and milk chocolate have higher Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) values than many common foods, such as prunes and blueberries. Dark chocolate has more than 13,000 ORAC units and milk chocolate has about 6,700, according to the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, McLean, VA.]

3. Vinson JA, Proch J, Zubik L. Phenol antioxidant quantity and quality in foods: cocoa, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Dec;47(12):4821-4.

4. McCullough ML, Chevaux K, Jackson L, Preston M, Martinez G, Schmitz HH, Coletti C, Campos H, Hollenberg NK. Hypertension, the Kuna, and the epidemiology of flavanols. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006;47 Suppl 2:S103-9; discussion 119-21.

5. Rein D, Paglieroni TG, Wun T, Pearson DA, Schmitz HH, Gosselin R, and Keen CL. Cocoa inhibits platelet activation and function. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jul;72(1):30-5.

6. Bruinsma K, Taren DL Chocolate: food or drug? J Am Diet Assoc 1999 Oct; 99(10):1249-56

7. Zurer, P. Chocolate may mimic marijuana in brain. Chemical and Engineering News. 1996 74(Sept. 2):31 [No abstract available on]

8. Tytgat J, Van Boven M, Daenens P. Cannabinoid mimics in chocolate utilized as an argument in court. Int J Legal Med. 2000;113(3):137-9.

9. Lee IM, Paffenbarger R Life is sweet: candy consumption and longevity BMJ 1998; 317: 1683-1684. [No abstract available on]

10. Hodgson JM, Devine A, Burke V, Dick IM, Prince RL. Chocolate consumption and bone density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan;87(1):175-80.

See also

Keywords: Toblerone of Switzerland, Giant chocolate bar, huge chocolate bar, big chocolate bar