Good News for Chocolate Lovers

… but it’s not that good of news. Chocolate, dark chocolate, which has this weird thing called epicatechin (a flavonol), is good for your health if you eat — get this — about one half of one square of a chocolate bar. Yes, and next they’ll say one half of one potato chip is good for you too. And who can eat that amount.

And even for those who adore dark chocolate, there is a catch. “A very small amount is probably enough,” Dr. Villarreal said. Extrapolating from his group’s mouse data, he said, five grams of dark chocolate daily, or just a sixth of an ounce — about half of one square of a typical chocolate bar — is probably a reasonable human dose if your aim is to intensify the effects of a workout.

Sadly, “more is not better,” he continued. “More could lessen or even undo” any benefits, he said, by overloading the muscles’ receptors or otherwise skewing the body’s response.

But given human nature, microdoses of chocolate may be impractical, underscoring the difficulties of using nutrition to bolster fitness. Dr. Villarreal’s colleagues regularly filch from his cache of dark-chocolate bars, he said, and despite his admonitions, they invariably finish the entire thing. “I keep telling them that’s too much,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter. They want to eat the whole thing and,” no matter what the expert tells them, “they do.”

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