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Did you know chocolate is good for you?

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Did you know chocolate is good for you?

Old 11-07-23, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rowerek
My guess was that the change in attitude was in 1990's, just in case I asked google:
"
Muffins became popular as a health food in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.
...Muffins were marketed as a healthy breakfast food for all ages. They were often advertised as being low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Muffins were also seen as a good way to get children to eat their fruits and vegetables, as they could be made with a variety of fillings, such as blueberries, bananas, and carrots.

The popularity of muffins as a health food began to decline in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was due to a number of factors ..."

About the same time, 1993, there was Seinfeld episode about "non-fat yogurt" that tasted to good to be true.
You can at least make healthy muffins today. My wife often does. I was at primary school in the 70s and milk was the big health push here in the UK at that time.
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Old 11-07-23, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SW84
What scientists say is bad now, they will claim is good in 10-20 years. It happens in every aspect of life: food, climate, politics, etc.
Science evolves logically, based on discovery and research. Politics and popular media doesn't.
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Old 11-07-23, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Science evolves logically, based on discovery and research. Politics and popular media doesn't.
"Science" as a whole may evolve logically; however, as much as it pains me as a trained scientist to say it, it's not clear that you can say that science evolves linearly. Because of the perceived respect scientists (used to) have, and the acute need for funding, some businesses have found it expedient to fund "research," and some people have accepted that funding, to conduct targeted research. It turns out that the answer you get in science, as in many other areas (thinking political polling, but fill in the blank with your pet peeve) depends heavily on the question you ask, and where you ask it, and how you approach the research. It's going to be darn hard to get a study funded that will look at a question like "is chocolate good for you" de novo; too much work has already been done. So one young scientist will go to Nestle with a proposal to study how atherosclerosis is affected dark chocolate consumption. Start with college kids (they'll participate for cheap), run a short study of a couple years (because they keep graduating and leaving), and the worst you can come up with is no statistically ignificant difference between chocolate supplemented and non-chocolate supplemented 23 year olds; at best, the chocolate eaters maintain or increase arterial wall flexibility, and the headline says, "Eating chocolate is good for you!" (Which is what Nestle probably wants.) OTOH, something like Weight Watchers might receive a funding proposal (perhaps even from the same young scientist!), who'd then provide free chocolate for a year to a few hundred study participants, find that they gained an average of 5 pounds more than the control group, and conclude that, since overweight and obesity are correlated with an unhealthy handful of cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, etc., the headline should read, "Eating chocolate is bad for you!"
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Old 11-07-23, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
"Science" as a whole may evolve logically; however, as much as it pains me as a trained scientist to say it, it's not clear that you can say that science evolves linearly. Because of the perceived respect scientists (used to) have, and the acute need for funding, some businesses have found it expedient to fund "research," and some people have accepted that funding, to conduct targeted research. It turns out that the answer you get in science, as in many other areas (thinking political polling, but fill in the blank with your pet peeve) depends heavily on the question you ask, and where you ask it, and how you approach the research. It's going to be darn hard to get a study funded that will look at a question like "is chocolate good for you" de novo; too much work has already been done. So one young scientist will go to Nestle with a proposal to study how atherosclerosis is affected dark chocolate consumption. Start with college kids (they'll participate for cheap), run a short study of a couple years (because they keep graduating and leaving), and the worst you can come up with is no statistically ignificant difference between chocolate supplemented and non-chocolate supplemented 23 year olds; at best, the chocolate eaters maintain or increase arterial wall flexibility, and the headline says, "Eating chocolate is good for you!" (Which is what Nestle probably wants.) OTOH, something like Weight Watchers might receive a funding proposal (perhaps even from the same young scientist!), who'd then provide free chocolate for a year to a few hundred study participants, find that they gained an average of 5 pounds more than the control group, and conclude that, since overweight and obesity are correlated with an unhealthy handful of cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, etc., the headline should read, "Eating chocolate is bad for you!"
I agree it's not simple. With chocolate I try to choose the least bad option and of course the best tasting! I don't really think of it as a health food in the same way as fresh organic veg etc.
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Old 11-07-23, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I agree it's not simple. With chocolate I try to choose the least bad option and of course the best tasting! I don't really think of it as a health food in the same way as fresh organic veg etc.
Oh, I certainly agree. While I haven't found anything I like that's over 85% cocoa (too bitter for my taste), I'll happily eat my 70-75% dark chocolate and figure it's comparatively healthy -- I'll just have 100 calories instead of 400 calories (or more!) in a pastry.
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Old 11-07-23, 09:53 AM
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So most science is based on funding. Exactly why I don't trust what most scientists say. There's an old saying about mankind: professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
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Old 11-07-23, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SW84
So most science is based on funding. Exactly why I don't trust what most scientists say. There's an old saying about mankind: professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
Scientists in general are actually trustworthy and their work is critically peer reviewed. Is there anyone you do trust?
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Old 11-07-23, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Oh, I certainly agree. While I haven't found anything I like that's over 85% cocoa (too bitter for my taste), I'll happily eat my 70-75% dark chocolate and figure it's comparatively healthy -- I'll just have 100 calories instead of 400 calories (or more!) in a pastry.
Yep, 75% is about my cut-off level too. But Iíve found some very tasty products in that range.
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Old 11-07-23, 11:39 AM
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No
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Old 11-07-23, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Scientists in general are actually trustworthy and their work is critically peer reviewed. Is there anyone you do trust?
I am not totally against science...Science has it's place when it comes to things like technology, medicine, energy,, mechanical stuff, etc....When it comes to nutrition, science has completely failed and all it accomplished was to create confusion. Today they tell us that eating eggs is healthy, next year they will tell us that eating eggs is bad, then 2 years later they back track and tell us that eating eggs is healthy...Me personally I eat intuitively and just ignore whatever science says we should eat. We have more nutrition science than ever before and yet things like diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, low testosterone in men is at it's highest ever.
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Old 11-07-23, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
I am not totally against science...Science has it's place when it comes to things like technology, medicine, energy,, mechanical stuff, etc....When it comes to nutrition, science has completely failed and all it accomplished was to create confusion. Today they tell us that eating eggs is healthy, next year they will tell us that eating eggs is bad, then 2 years later they back track and tell us that eating eggs is healthy...Me personally I eat intuitively and just ignore whatever science says we should eat. We have more nutrition science than ever before and yet things like diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, low testosterone in men is at it's highest ever.
Thatís because most people donít pay attention to their nutrition or healthy living in general. There is also a lot of pseudo-science around fad diets etc that gets confused with actual legit science. So you have to pick your sources of information carefully. Ignoring the science is just like sticking your head in the sand.

Your egg example is also bs. Science in the 60s did suggest that eggs may be linked with heart disease, which was later disproved by decades of further scientific study. Governments were slow to change their guidelines in light of new findings but they eventually did. You make it sound like the science is back tracking every few years, which is just bs to suit your stance of dismissing it entirely. It would be easy to dismiss any kind of science with similar examples, especially medicine which you appear to accept.
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Old 11-07-23, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SW84
So most science is based on funding. Exactly why I don't trust what most scientists say. There's an old saying about mankind: professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
Can you see the misstep here? Nobody said that "most"science is based on funding. pdlamb was talking about some particular examples where science can be influenced by the funding and the motivations of the funders. While those examples are realistic, it's not anywhere near the generalization to which you leapt.

There's also an old saying about bathwater, you might recall.
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Old 11-07-23, 08:04 PM
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On the actual subject of dark chocolate. I used to find that 70% was my sweet spot. But I learned that I can appreciate 85%. Above that and it's not enjoyable enough to bother.
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Old 11-07-23, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
Can you see the misstep here? Nobody said that "most"science is based on funding. pdlamb was talking about some particular examples where science can be influenced by the funding and the motivations of the funders. While those examples are realistic, it's not anywhere near the generalization to which you leapt.

There's also an old saying about bathwater, you might recall.
Could you provide some info on which scientific research isn't funded?
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Old 11-07-23, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SW84
Could you provide some info on which scientific research isn't funded?
Again, you are making an incorrect logical leap. The point raised was that in some cases the questions asked are guided by the funding, which initiates the research. Most funded research, as for example, in various national and international funding agencies (not Nestle or other corporate sources) it works the opposite way. The research questions are posed first and a proposal is submitted. The funding does not determine the questions or the motivations.

I write this, btw, as someone with >30 years experience conducting university research. Mostly my funding comes from that National Science Foundation and NASA. Never has the funding agency influenced the direction of my research or the outcomes. I seek funding for what interests me or what I think is important to my field at a particular time, and the proposals are reviewed not by the agencies, but by my peers - other researchers at universities, federal labs, and similar organizations from other nations. If the questions I want to pursue are not rated well by my peers, I seek funding for other ideas I have. Or I might find other ways, such as internal funding from my university, to pursue them. Or some research can actually be done with no funding at all, if I am creative about how I go about it.

I do not research nutrition, however. It's not my field.

Doubting science because it is "funded", without understanding more deeply what that means and without distinguishing between the different modalities of how research is conducted, how it evolves, and so on, is a formula for comfortable self-enforced ignorance.

Edit: I might add that I also contribute peer reviews to proposals submitted to a very large range of organizations, NSF, NASA, DOE, private US foundations, and the national funding agencies of Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The European Research Council, Israel, and more that I'm probably forgetting. In all of these cases, the questions and the experimental design come from the PIs (that is, the principal investigators). The funding agency seeks the advice of experts like myself, and decides to award the funding or not based on criteria that have nothing at all to do with seeking a particular outcome for the research.

Last edited by MinnMan; 11-07-23 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 11-07-23, 09:05 PM
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I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't trust them. It's nothing personal.
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Old 11-07-23, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SW84
I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't trust them. It's nothing personal.
I don't take it personally. OTOH, your blanket generalizations without much actual information mean that your reasoning isn't persuasive. You can take that personally if you so choose.
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Old 11-07-23, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SW84
I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't trust them. It's nothing personal.
The ones I donít trust are the one funded by the industries they work in. Can you say conflict of interest or job security at the publicís expense?
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Old 11-07-23, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
The ones I don’t trust are the one funded by the industries they work in. Can you say conflict of interest or job security at the public’s expense?
Eh, sometimes. When I was a kid, a family friend was a food scientist who spent his career working for the Lipton Tea company (which in turn was owned by a giant conglomerate, Unilever). He worked on things like figuring out what chemical reactions happened in tea leaves that made older tea not taste as good or which types of materials made tea bags that stayed competent after long durations in hot water.

Some industry-funded scientists (whether they work for the industry or are at universities and accepting funding from industry) are conducting studies that are meant to produce good marketing copy ("chocolate is good for you") or worse, as in "this drug that will cost $10,000 a dose really does improve outcomes in patients with...(fill in the blank)".

Standards for transparency in scientific publications have improved. Authors are required to indicate who funded their research and are also required to sign statements that clarify their financial interests in the published work. These are not yet sufficient and certainly that doesn't mean that published scientific claims are free of bias and of vested interests.

But on the other side, not every scientific muckraker should be taken at face value either. this aspect of the discussion started when somebody brought up the CR report about heavy metals in dark chocolate. Although that was a valuable contribution, it also had some flaws, as i've pointed out. These include the likelihood that contamination cannot be tracked by brand and the consideration that levels of Cd and Pb above FDA guidelines doesn't create the same risk for all individuals (i.e., children with developing bodies and brains vs. us old farts).
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Old 11-08-23, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by SW84
I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't trust them. It's nothing personal.
So do you just simply ignore science completely or accept it with some doubt and suspicion? Is it the actual scientists that you donít trust or media manipulation and reporting of their findings?
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Old 11-08-23, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by SW84
Could you provide some info on which scientific research isn't funded?
Dr. Barry Marshall's discovery of Helicobacter pylori comes to mind. I don't think anybody funded his research, and he was called a quack for years. The Nobel foundation awarded him their price in medicine and physiology after other scientists replicated his work, but those replicators were probably funded.

Originally Posted by SW84
I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't trust them. It's nothing personal.
I don't trust people who don't trust anybody else. It's nothing personal.
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Old 11-08-23, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So do you just simply ignore science completely or accept it with some doubt and suspicion? Is it the actual scientists that you donít trust or media manipulation and reporting of their findings?
Sound of head exploding.
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Old 11-08-23, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So do you just simply ignore science completely or accept it with some doubt and suspicion? Is it the actual scientists that you don’t trust or media manipulation and reporting of their findings?
It's an interesting world we live in. People depend on science at every moment of the day, including the science enabling you to read this forum. Just think of all the "science"behind what's going on in your phone - from why the glass is hard to break to how the phone "knows" your location (hint for the last one, it requires mathematical solutions that incorporate the law of special relativity). They're OK with all of that and feel no compunction to understand it. But then, because grifters and charlatans have convinced them that it's "smart"to be skeptical, they spew all kinds of misunderstanding of science, specifically and generally....

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Old 11-08-23, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
It's an interesting world we live in. People depend on science at every moment of the day, including the science enabling you to read this forum. Just think of all the "science"behind what's going on in your phone - from why the glass is hard to break to how the phone "knows" your location (hint for the last one, it requires mathematical solutions that incorporate the law of special relativity). They're OK with all of that and feel no compunction to understand it. But then, because grifters and charlatans have convinced them that it's "smart"to be skeptical, they spew all kinds of misunderstanding of science, specifically and generally....
Wait, what?!!! Are you telling me that cell phones are not magic??
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Old 11-08-23, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Wait, what?!!! Are you telling me that cell phones are not magic??
"any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

Arthur C. Clarke, 1962
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