Trying to keep up with the latest health advice is like trying to keep up with the latest fashion trends: One minute you're eating tons of fish to get smarter, and the next you're attending a business meeting wearing nothing but Zubaz and a soul patch.
Part of the problem is that it seems like science is constantly changing its mind -- it seems like eggs have gone from health food to poison back to health food just in the last 20 years (and do you need to refrigerate them or not, damn it?). Well, all we can do is try to keep you apprised of the latest findings, even if they conflict with the ones we ourselves reported a few years ago. So here are some common myths that it appears, for now, have been debunked:
Myth: Dark Chocolate Is A Health Food!
Sadly, while we desperately wish our indulgences were somehow good for us, that seldom turns out to be the case. Fortunately for your sweet tooth, one notable exception to that is chocolate -- especially dark chocolate. Recent headlines have boasted that it's good for your heart, it gives your skin a healthy glow, and best of all, a regular Hershey intake is like mounting a supercharger on your cerebrum, effectively transforming you into a real-life MODOK (or at the very least helping you stave off senility).
But Actually ...
Shockingly, stuffing your face full of chocolate -- even of the darkest variety -- won't lead to Rain Man memory or post-Photoshop quality skin ... unless you're willing to accept the tradeoff of causing your ass to swell at a rate directly proportional to any perceived benefits.
"Eh, fuck Becky."
You see, the flavanols present in chocolate are indeed, to put it in scientific terms, "the shit." In one study, older volunteers who drank a concentrated flavanol beverage for three months before taking a memory test performed as well as those half their age. Subsequent scans revealed increased blood flow to certain areas of the brain, including a region implicated in the development of CRS disease in the elderly. But here's the catch: Most commercial chocolates are shitty sources of flavanol, because the processes that make chocolate delicious also spell genocide for the beneficial compounds therein. So to get a good flavanol buzz going, you'd need to snarf down at least seven chocolate bars every single day -- which, admittedly, is not that big of a stretch from the average American diet.
We call that "brunch" around here.