Chocolate Rides Again

Yaaaaaa hoooooooooo.  Yet another reason to indulge.  A new study to support your . . .  er . . .  my . . . chocolate cravings. 

Adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance.  The findings provide ammunition both for athletes looking for an edge (and those of us hoping for an excuse to indulge).

Woofer on recumbent bike

Eight male recreational cyclists who agreed, in the interests of science (yeh sure . . . science . . .), to swallow a little dark chocolate every day. Without going into the details of the study, here are the findings:

“Each of the cyclists performed better in most of the physical tests after two weeks of supplementing with dark chocolate, compared to baseline results and after they had eaten white chocolate. The riders utilized less oxygen to ride at a moderate pace, a change that would generally allow them to ride longer or harder before tiring; and they covered more distance during a two-minute, all-out time trial, meaning that their anaerobic, sprinting ability had been enhanced.”

“Most of this research has focused on the role of a substance called epicatechin, a plant nutrient found in cocoa. Dark chocolate is generally rich in epicatechin, though levels vary, depending on how the sweet was produced.”

(Levels of epicatechin tend to be much lower in milk chocolate, which contains little cocoa, and white chocolate contains little or none of the nutrient. (Fine by me, since I do NOT consider any white food to be chocolate.)

“Epicatechin is known to prompt cells that line blood vessels to release extra nitric oxide, a substance that has multiple effects in the body. Nitric oxide slightly increases vasodilation, or a widening of the veins and arteries, improving blood flow and cardiac function. It also gooses muscle cells to take in more blood sugar, providing them with more energy, and it enhances the passage of oxygen into cells.”

“. . . scientists do not yet know the ideal dosage of dark chocolate for athletes, and that more than 40 grams is unlikely to be helpful” (those of us who are not athletes can eat more).

Read the entire article and click here:Chocolate Really can boost your workout. 

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24 thoughts on “Chocolate Rides Again

  1. I love the science behind eating chocolate – validates my indulgences. As for white chocolate – that’s an anomaly not worth considering. So I’m off to the store to get DARK chocolate – 40 grams is, what? Equal to a giant candy bar, right? Oh yes, Catnip says I’m good to go. Yippee!

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  2. Very interesting. For many years there was dark chocolate in my freezer. I think it is gone now but I know where to get more. By happenstance I just bought a bunch of
    Chocolate Extreme GU yesterday. Riding today and looking forward to consuming a couple packets during the ride. Stopping at Vons on the way home to stock up on the dark stuff. Thanks for the post, something I can use.

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    • Steve,
      Chocolate is especially good for bike riders. The added benefit is if yo are riding, you can afford the calories. Definitely a win-win. Now for wine and crossword puzzles for an evening brain workout.
      Peggy

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      • I do the crossword before I ride, way to tired to do them after. I did have some chocolate before my ride today and then a packet of Chocolate Outrage GU at the turn around point. Not conclusive evidence that any of it works but I got to my turn around point 3 minutes faster than any recent timings (a small tail wind header north may have helped). None the less before tomorrow’s ride I’ll have more very dark chocolate and like someone else posted blueberries are a big part of my breakfast fruit salad. Any other great tasting foods you want to add would be greatly appreciated. What the heck I’m burning between 1,300 and 1,500 calories (according to my heart rate monitor) so eating is not too much of an issue.

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        • I did just that, not sure it’s a real good idea for someone who is probably a bit dehydrated to enjoy a glass of wine with some sour dough and cheese. When I woke up – half the
          Tour de France time trial was over.

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        • JW – The Tour riders are nothing less than spectacular examples of athleticism. Basically over 100 miles a day for 21 out of 23 days. I hope they had a lot of chocolate. I’ve read that by the last week they are actually like people climbing Everest. They call it the dead zone or something like that. They are so exhausted and their bodies are so depleted that their bodies start “eating themselves”. They eat and drink constantly during each stage. They burn n excess of 6,000 calories each day. Amazing!!!

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  3. I’m a happy gal getting this report to justify my daily addiction for Brookside Dark Chocolate covered Blueberries. Some like their daily wine ‘fix’ but I love my 1/4 cup of dark chocolate covered blueberries while watching tv & crocheting or knitting. Thank you for passing the info so I now am guilt free. 😇😘

    Sent from my iPhone Linda

    >

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    • Linda,
      Blueberries are one of the TOP foods for your brain! Keep eating them with your chocolate. Not only should you not feel guilty, but you need to feel really good about it!
      Peggy

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  4. 40 grams is not even an ounce and a half, I can ingest that much BEFORE breakfast, and haven’t noted I eat breakfast any faster. Will have to do further research on quantity.

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  5. I kid you not….Just before I started to read this I thought to myself…it’s time to make a batch of homemade dark chocolate!! Ok so now am compelled to share the easy recipe for healthy easy chocolate.

    Raw cacao powder mixed with organic coconut oil. Add a pinch of salt. Add a little taw organic honey or maple syrup. Use freezer trays and put an almond, a piece of date, a cranberry, whatever you fancy in your chocolate, then spread the liquid mix over the top. Freeze and pop chocolates out, eat right away as they do melt quickly. Trust me, that is not difficult to do.

    Love the improved athletic performance aspect!

    Peta

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    • Jacqui,
      This is how they earn their living, so they must be happy about it in some way. And it is rumored that if you win one stage (the race on one day only), you never have to buy beer at a pub in Europe again for the rest of your life!
      Peggy

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