- Chocolate mania 5. Friend or enemy
- History of chocolate 6. Safe sweetness
- Love of sweet from your father 7. Help to dentists
- Balanced diet 8. Problems with weight
A. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tree Theobroma cacao. The ancient Aztecs used the beans of the cacao tree as a form of money. The Aztecs discovered that by crushing the beans into a paste and adding spices, they could make a refreshing and nourishing drink. This drink was very bitter, not like our chocolate drinks today. 16th century European explorers brought the drink back from their travels, added sugar, and soon it was popular as an expensive luxury.
B. You can receive a ‘sweet tooth’ from your parents. Recent study at New York University suggests there is a genetic reason why some people prefer sugary foods. The study was based on two groups of mice. The parents of the first group were given sweetened water and the parents of the second – unsweetened water. The team found the gene that was different in the two groups of mice and then looked for similar genetic chains in humans.
C. All modern chocolate products have large amounts of sugar, a fact which may partly explain why it becomes a sort of drug for some people. An ability to recognize sweet things, and a tendency to like them was very useful for our forefathers. Such a genetic quality made prehistoric humans look for energy-rich, healthy and tasty food such as fruit, and helped them avoid bitter-tasting poisonous plants.
D. Like other sweet food, chocolate helps endorphins, natural hormones, that give us the feelings of pleasure and well-being, to appear in our body. Chocolate also makes us feel good by reacting with our brains. Scientists say that some people may develop chocoholism — a dependency on chocolate. So it’s just possible that, with every bar of chocolate, your brain changes step by step in order to make you love chocolate more and more!
E. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, many scientific works were written explaining the advantages of chocolate for medicine, and today it’s a regular food in army rations. Chocolate could help prevent tooth decay, according to scientists at Japan’s Osaka University. The cocoa beans from which chocolate is made have an antibacterial agent that fights tooth decay. These parts of the beans are not usually used in chocolate production, but in future they could be added back in to chocolate to make it friendly for teeth.
F. Californian scientist Professor Carl Keen and his team have suggested that chocolate might help fight heart disease. They say that it contains chemicals called flavinoids, which thin the blood. Researchers at Harvard University have carried out experiments that suggest that if you eat chocolate three times a month you will live almost a year longer than those who don’t do it. But it’s not all good news — chocolate has much fat, which means that eating too much of it may lead to obesity.
G. Being very fat, or obese, is linked to many health problems including heart disease and diabetes. The causes of obesity are not yet fully understood. Both genes and the environment play a role. The recent growth of the number of fat people seems to be linked to environmental factors: people are much less active nowadays, fatty and sugary foods like chocolate are cheap, people eat larger portions of food, and the calories per person have increased.