But while customers can’t get enough of the company’s bearded, Brooklyn hipster founders, and their brilliantly marketed, $10 “bean to bar” chocolates, a term reserved for chocolate that has been produced entirely under the maker’s control, from the cocoa bean to the wrapped bar, chocolate experts have shunned them. Earlier this year, Slate published a story on Rick and Michael Mast, detailing complaints by the craft chocolate community about their undeserved media attention and unparalleled hubris. (“I can affirm that we make the best chocolate in the world,” Rick told Vanity Fair in February.)
Enter the first suggestion, the truth may be getting stretched a bit... then there's this:
The company’s price of around $10 per bar is not unheard-of in the world of artisanal chocolate, but certainly on the higher end. “We charge $8 for most of our bars and our chocolate regularly receives awards in Europe for its taste and flavor,” Pollard of Amano Artisan Chocolate told Quartz. “Charging $10 for a bar made with beans that are not highly prized should be an exception rather than the rule.”
Imagine getting duped into believing what you're eating is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The ironic relevance of being duped lately is going around here and nothing heals like chocolate. Just make sure it's Good Chocolate. My argument is supported by what good chocolate has that waxy, crappy chocolate doesn't.
1. High Pressure Mood Improver?
One of the most alluring effects of chocolate consumption is its improvement in mood. Your mood matters even more when you’re stressed. Luckily, chocolate can help even in high-pressure situations, according to one study. Participants were asked to complete serial subtraction tasks of threes and sevens (counting down by 3s and 7s), and a rapid visual information-processing task to test sustained attention. Those who consumed cocoa flavanol drinks prior to the trial had overall better cognitive performance and reported less ‘mental fatigue’ than the control group.
2. Chocolate makes you eat less?
One of my favorite effects of chocolate consumption is a reduction in appetite. One study quantified this by giving participants a 100 g serving of either milk or dark chocolate two hours before being served an all-you-can-eat lunch. Ingestion of dark chocolate was correlated with a 17% lower calorie intake at the following meal, compared to the milk chocolate group. (I’d imagine that it’s because the casein in milk binds to the polyphenols in chocolate, making them unavailable to your body.) The new Bulletproof Chocolate Bars are enriched with another appetite reducer, XCT Oil for a double impact.
3. Maintenance of a Healthy Cardiovascular System
Regular chocolate consumption is also associated with improved markers for cardiovascular health. Notably, the polyphenols in cacao increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), which in turns leads to decreased oxidized LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)[5-6]. Other effects include higher levels of circulating nitric oxide, [7-9] and reduced platelet adhesion,[10-11], resulting in improved endothelial function.
4. Chocolate makes your skin glow…and may reduce sunburn?
Another cool thing chocolate does is help you maintain healthy skin by modulating healthy blood flow. In one study, two groups of women consumed either a high flavanol or low flavanol cocoa powder for a period of 12 weeks. While the low flavanol group showed no change in markers of skin health, subjects in the high flavanol group had on average 25% reduction in UV-induced erythema (sunburn) after exposure to a solar simulator.
Additionally, the high flavanol group recorded increased skin density and thickness, as well as better hydration and less transepidermal water loss.
5. Healthy Inflammation Levels From Powerful Antioxidants (for mice!)
Chocolate has inflammation-modulating properties. In one study, obese mice supplemented with cocoa powder had healthier levels of inflammation and insulin. These mice also had a 30% reduction in plasma levels of the major pro-inflammatory mediator interleukin 6. Additionally, a cross-sectional study of an Italian cohort discovered an inverse relationship between dark chocolate consumption and serum C-reactive protein.
6. Chocolate is a prebiotic!
While many studies assume that it is the cacao polyphenols acting directly to modulate biomarkers, it is most likely the case that at least some of the effect is indirect, and works through interaction with our gut microbiome. Research suggests that low molecular weight cocoa flavanols such as epicatechin and catechin can be absorbed directly into blood circulation, (unless you mix them with milk) but this is not so for the larger polyphenols. In this case, microflora in the colon work to break down high molecular weight polyphenols, so that the smaller secondary metabolites may circulate throughout the body.[20-21]
If gut bacteria are feeding on the larger cocoa polyphenols, then it follows that the composition of the intestinal microbiome will be altered. In fact, one study did discover a beneficial prebiotic effect of high flavanol chocolate consumption. After a period of 4 weeks of consuming a high flavanol cocoa powder, subjects had a significant increase in bifidobacterial and lactobacilli populations, as well as significantly decreased clostridia levels. This was accompanied by significantly decreased C-reactive protein (which correlates to inflammation reduction in the body), which was associated particularly with changes in lactobacilli.
7. Cellular Rejuvenation (Anti-Aging)
Last, but certainly not least, cacao can enhance mitochondrial biogenesis, or, the creation of new mitochondria! If you’ve read about Unfair Advantage, you know how important it is to have healthy mitochondria, and more of them. It is the flavanol epicatechin in chocolate which is responsible for mitogenesis. In one study, oral administration of epicatechin to senile mice shifted numerous biomarkers towards those of young mice, including sirtuin 1, a well-recognized regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis.,  In another mouse study, treatment with epicatechin improved exercise performance by ~50% compared to controls, and enhanced muscle fatigue resistance by ~30%. The epicatechin group also recorded significant increases in mitochondrial volume in hindlimb and cardiac muscles.
Now I have my favorites, among them the German Ritter Sport and Swiss Toblerone, Lindt and Ghirardelli. I'll eat Hershey's special dark on occasion, but there are some that don't get down my gullet. If it has any waxiness, it's last word is PTEWY! That waxy stuff is Soy Lecithin, and while it is in many chocolates, the concentration of it is higher in cheap chocolate. Also the appearance of Vanillin (it's artificial - not Vanilla) is a sigh-n not to buy or eat. Enjoy your chocolate, but enjoy it responsibly (with me please...) or another loved one and feel good - because, chocolate.
Share your favorites, what chocolate do you love to eat?