Don't believe the hype
Before we all run off to Darrell Lea punching the air and chanting "The sisterhood lives!" let's really look at the facts.
Listen up as I am the official bearer of wonderful, wonderful news.
There is a God, and that God is a woman.
Not just any woman, either. A woman who, like all women of the new millennium, knows without any shadow of a doubt that chocolate is the cornerstone of a nutritious diet.
Which is why the She-God continues to inspire scientists and researchers to discover that chocolate is a veritable honey pot of antioxidants, and that any abstinence from regular indulgence will result in a long and very unattractive death. So there.
The latest study from the United States (no surprises there) by the angel Beatrice Golomb of the University of California in San Diego examined 1018 healthy men and women who exercised on average 3.6 times a week and had a balanced, nutritious diet.
The study found those who ate chocolate five times a week had a lower body mass index than those who did not eat it regularly. Which prompted the headline in one Australian newspaper: "Eat chocolate, weigh less."
Golomb said the findings indicated that "more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI". I can almost hear magazine editors across the country screaming, "There's our headline!" as designers scramble to plaster it across the front of every women's magazine in the known universe in extra large bold type.
Another recent University of California study that revealed mice had improved endurance after being fed a flavonoid found in chocolate led one UK newspaper to headline the story: "How dark chocolate 'boosts fitness in the same way as jogging'."
Er ... thanks for that.
Now before we all run off to Darrell Lea punching the air and chanting "The sisterhood lives!" let's check out this one.
We know that chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is rich in antioxidants. But it's also heavy in kilojoules, as it contains high levels of saturated fat and sugar. Headlines frequently tell only a tenth of the story, and the baby gets thrown out with the proverbial bath water.
We can have a bit of choccy now and again, as the US study showed. But let's not kid ourselves that we're eating ourselves skinny.
Before drinking case-loads of shiraz or tucking into chocolate, check the details of studies that make seemingly outrageous claims about the benefits of doing so. It always pays to read the "fine print".