April 29, 2016

"People who like milk chocolate have slightly different microbes in their intestines than those who prefer their chocolate dark

"... although researchers do not know why. Significant differences in the so-called microbiome are also found in individuals based on whether or not they eat a lot of fiber or take certain medications—such as the diabetes drug metformin, female hormones or antihistamines."

From "Findings from the Gut—New Insights into the Human Microbiome/A preference for dark versus milk chocolate, among other things, shows up in the kinds of healthy germs found in the gut" (in Scientific American).

30 comments:

Todd said...

So it is not just an acquired taste? I used to only eat milk chocolate and about a dozen years ago, the wife and I switched to dark due mostly to the supposed better health benefits of dark. Took some getting used to but now milk chocolate tastes "lacking". Will eat it in a pinch as it is still chocolate but I now prefer the dark...

Quaestor said...

The difference: The the milk chocolate microbes are weenies.

David said...

And those of us who will gorge on either one?

n.n said...

Nature picks her winners. The lactose intolerant microbes are aborted.

rhhardin said...

Lindt 90% is the stuff to get. Break each square into four pieces. You don't need much at a time with that stuff, otherwise it just tastes bitter.

rhhardin said...

Eagles prefer dark chocolate.

Ann Althouse said...

The health recommendations about dark chocolate have got to be bullshit, don't you think? If chocolate has some ingredients that are good for you, what difference does it make if it is combined with milk? It's got to be the same as eating dark chocolate and drinking some milk on the side. Is there some chemical interaction that undercuts whatever's good about the chocolate? I think it's just ideation about what seems like it ought to be good, like much of the nutrition advice we read.

campy said...

"The health recommendations about dark chocolate have got to be bullshit, don't you think?"

They eat the dark stuff in Europe, therefore it's better.

QED

TA said...

Interesting. I had thought preference for milk chocolate was a character defect, like love of cats.

Todd said...

Ann Althouse said...
It's got to be the same as eating dark chocolate and drinking some milk on the side. Is there some chemical interaction that undercuts whatever's good about the chocolate? I think it's just ideation about what seems like it ought to be good, like much of the nutrition advice we read.

4/29/16, 10:19 AM


I believe the foundation of the argument is: if you are only going to eat X amount of chocolate, dark is better asit has more of the "good stuff" per unit measure than milk chocolate that has been "deluded" with more non-chocolate stuff.

William said...

For breakfast, I have yogurt, a half pint of berries, and two squares of crumbled Lindt 90% chocolate. The great good thing about this is that I would eat it even if it weren't healthy. Also the medication I take for an enlarged prostate has the side effect of stimulating hair growth. You win a few on the sad journey to the grave.

FullMoon said...

The dark chocolate changes the microbes, obviously.

Unknown said...

How about people who like white chocolate?

Todd said...

Sorry but white chocolate an't chocolate and in fact has no chocolate in it at all.

"No soup for you!"

mikee said...

I haven't been the same since eating the Brochette of Beef on my last night at the Camino Real in Cozumel. Yes, your gut flora can change, sometimes over one very long night of reading a loooong novel on a toilet while drinking Gatorade to help things along.

Ann Althouse said...

"Lindt 90% is the stuff to get. Break each square into four pieces. You don't need much at a time with that stuff, otherwise it just tastes bitter."

Yes, well, these are the 2 points, as I see it:

1. Chocolate, straight, is bitter.

2. You might not want to eat too much.

So using dark chocolate has to do with:

1. Sensitivity to bitterness.

2. Concern about restricting food consumption.

If you are not trying to restrict food intake or not choosing to control your eating through the technique of eating things you've got a bit of an aversion to, you should just pick the one you like the taste and texture of. Milk chocolate is sweeter and creamier. You're not a superior person for avoiding the sweet and creamy. And a lot of us think sweet and creamy is the best of the best.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, articles on chocolate as health food are clickbait. There are way too many articles on this subject.

rhhardin said...

In quarter square quantities, the bitter chocolate isn't bitter. Your saliva outnumbers it and it's good.

mockturtle said...

Lindt 90% is the stuff to get.

I'm a Lindt 85%-er but hope someday to graduate to 90%.

mockturtle said...

Oh, and it is an acquired taste. I used to be a 70%-er but now it tastes too sweet.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...You're not a superior person for avoiding the sweet and creamy. And a lot of us think sweet and creamy is the best of the best.

I thought some of us had almost no sense of smell and subsequently very little sense of taste at all, though. Wouldn't that help one more easily consume bitter foods that are better for one's health?

Fernandinande said...

John Hawks had a post about an anthropologist who shoved hunter-gatherer shit up his butt to get the gut bacteria.

CStanley said...

The health recommendations for dark chocolate have to do with concentration. You have to eat very large quantities of milk chocolate to get the nutrients, and that adds lots of empty calories from all the sugar and milk, it would be like trying to get fiber by eating 16 bowls of Lucky Charms instead of a small bowl of All Bran.

Fernandinande said...

Here it is:
An exotic intestinal infusion

Better: The main finding is that microbiome diversity is determined by parasite load:

mockturtle said...

Intestinal infusions are not unheard of in the medical world. Those whose guts have been depleted of necessary bacteria and become infected with an opportunistic one, like Clostridium difficile, sometimes require a literal shit transplant to restore the intestinal flora.

Darrell said...

I like milk in my coffee, too.

Joe said...

File this in annals of "No Shit Sherlock." One's intestinal microbes vary from the average due to diet. There, just saved some government millions of dollars in grants.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought some of us had almost no sense of smell and subsequently very little sense of taste at all, though. Wouldn't that help one more easily consume bitter foods that are better for one's health?"

Bitter is a taste, not a smell. I am very sensitive to the tastes, like bitter and sweet. Sweet is good, bitter is bad. Without complexity on top of the bitter, it's a problem.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Now I am genuinely confused; I thought there was a thread a couple of weeks ago about where one would go if the local cuisine (that is, the taste of the local food) was not an issue... and it wouldn't be an issue because one didn't have much of a sense of taste. I must have really misunderstood, sorry.

jaed said...

The tastes of local cuisines would vary mostly depending on the spices and seasonings, the subtle things... which are largely conveyed by smell. If your sense of smell has gone walkabout, you'd lose these nuances, so the local-cuisine variations wouldn't matter much... but the basic tastes - sweet, sour, bitter, salty - would be even more important, because they're the only things you can taste.