Nutrition in the News

By: Lauren Daugherty

"Is Chocolate good or bad for Health?"

Article Written By: Carina Storrs
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Article Summary:

The article I chose is called "Is Chocolate Good or Bad For Health?" written by Carina Storrs and published in CNN's diet and health benefits section on February 19th, 2016. I accessed this article through the CNN website. In this article, Storrs talks about the nutritious benefits dark chocolate contains and the benefits it may have on the human body with decreasing the chances of certain diseases. The important mineral within cocoa that implies that chocolate is 'good' for you is flavonoid. Because white chocolate doesn't contain cocoa and milk chocolate doesn't contain this elemental flavonoid, they are not considered in the category of the healthier chocolate like dark chocolate is. Also, chocolate that has been processed and has gone through the dutch process, also known as, "dutch chocolate", no longer contains the element flavonoid. As far as the research goes, the conclusion they drew to this day is that dark chocolate is not 'bad' for you if taken in moderation. It is still not known how much chocolate is to be consumed for an individual to gain these health benefits.


Also, in the article it goes through a time line starting in 500 B.C. going all the way to 2015 discussing in each century and year an interesting fact or revolution of chocolate. For example, in 1864 it is said in this article that chocolate was used in medications that were given to patients who presented to have syphilis and also used as an antidote for infections with parasitic worms (Storrs). It is also said in the year 2002 that it was found in multiple studies conducted that because of chocolates anti-oxidant effects, that if the correct amount is consumed, that it has lowered the rates of lung and rectal cancers (Storrs).


In the article, and as I mentioned above, it states that one of the health benefits included in these flavonoids is an anti-oxidant effect. Anti-oxidant is a positive effect because it inhibits the effects of oxidant reactions. Oxidation is known as a reaction that creates chains of free radicals that can potentially be damaging to the cells. As a conclusion, Storrs states that chocolate is probably good for us and that if taken in moderation, it will show the benefits.

Flavonoids beneficial effects

Flavonoids, which are known to be found in cocoa beans, are the nutritional portion of chocolate. They are plant metabolites that signal through the cell and have antioxidant effects and anti- inflammatory effects. It provides this benefit by protecting LDL cholesterol molecules from oxygen molecules. Flavonoids and it's beneficial effects can also be found in foods such as herbs and spices, soy foods, pomegranate and grape juices.

Article Critique

Carina Storrs, the author of this article is a "freelance science and health journalist based in New York City" (Storrs). She has her Master's in Journalism that she received from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program in 2009. She has also studied and done research over the HPV virus at Columbia University where she earned her Phd and in Paris as a fellowship. She enjoys writing about mostly anything having to do with science, but prefers something infectious. Her work has appeared in multiple places such as Scientific American, The Scientist, Discover, and on CNN health (which is where this article can be found). After researching the author of the articles credentials, it is obvious that her research is very accurate and she is eligible to find correct and liable information for her articles. She has the ability to write and read about accurate information.


The article itself is mostly based off of the research findings of one Dr. which makes this article a reliable source of information considering his credentials as well. This doctor is Dr. Owais Khawaja, who specializes in cardiovascular disease and is located primarily in Mercy St Anne Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. He states that these health benefits include things like acting as an anti-oxidant, reducing cancer risks and dementia, and anti-inflammatory effects. With that being said, he makes it clear that you also want to consume these chocolate desserts only in moderation for these effects to take place in the human body.


This article contains great information that is definitely reliable. The only misleading portion of this article is the fact that at the end of the article it seems as if the writer is guessing as to what the conclusion should be. She uses the phrase "For now it is probably safe to say that dark chocolate is good-- or at least, not bad"(Storrs). This conclusion is not strong at all because it sounds as if she was guessing by using the diction 'probably' in a conclusion to wrap up all of the data found for her article. By using the word 'probably' shows there is no actual scientific proof behind her final conclusion even after proving her point in her entire article. Since this part of the article is misleading, I did some more research on the actual Dr. whom Carina Storrs based her article off of his research. I would recommend doing that to anyone who has the doubt on the liability of an article; conduct further research to validate the accuracy of their articles. After conducting this research on my own, I came to the conclusion that both of their credentials are high enough and their research is reliable and is validated through specific examples.

References

Carina Storrs. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://carinastorrs.com/


Storrs, C. (2016, February 19). Is dark chocolate good or bad for health? Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/10/health/chocolate-health-benefits/index.html