Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wine, chocolate, and our health

People often pair wine with cheese. I like cheese, but I love chocolate. Now, I don't drink much wine, but I consume a fair bit of chocolate. Anyone who knows we well can attest to that! I'm eating chocolate right now as I type this blog post (Lindt Lindor dark chocolate truffles).

Let's look at these two common elements that frequently get consumed during the holiday season because they make great gift ideas:

Wine: Now wine contains alcohol and is also quite high in calories. Alcohol is a sedative and some people may be addicted to alcohol. The truth is that many people actually abuse/misuse alcohol but they don't even realize it. As a result, alcohol has become a menace to society in that it has contributed to significant health problems (cancer, cirrhosis, alcoholism, etc.) and public health concerns (drunk driving, decreased workplace productivity, etc.). However, wine appears to have some health benefits if it's consumed responsibly. Wine (in responsible moderation) may benefit the heart, lipid profiles, etc.

Chocolate: I love chocolate, but we all know that chocolate is heavy on the calories. They say, "A moment on the lips, but a lifetime on the hips" (you may as well add: waist, belly, thighs, etc.) I make it to the gym several times each week just so that I can maintain my chocolate habit. We've been uncovering more health benefits tied with dark chocolate, but it's hard to justify most of these benefits when you look at the obesity epidemic in the United States. I don't think any  physician will encourage an overweight or obese individual to consume chocolate for health benefits.

So, what are we to do about wine and chocolate this holiday season? I'm going to cut back on wine so that I can eat more chocolate. This way, I can still burn the same amount of calories each day and still enjoy my chocolate.

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