Transcript: A Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition characterized by a minimum of six months of crushing mental and physical exhaustion and we have no idea what causes it. We don’t even have a good idea of how many people have it. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as seven and a half million Americans currently suffer from it. And we as physician have very little to offer patients in terms of relieving their symptoms. So this is one of the conditions that I’m always keeping an eye out for in terms of new treatments.
And one of the latest they just discovered? Chocolate.
Evidently Montezuma the Second, who reigned the Aztec empire 500 years ago noted, "The divine drink, builds up resistance, fights fatigue. A cup of cocoa permits people to walk for a whole day without food.’’ Not willing to take the emperor’s word for it, we put it to the test.
I’m always skeptical of industry-supported research, but it was actually a pretty good study. At first glance it looked like they were basically saying eat three chocolate bars a day for eight weeks and call me in the morning, but it was actually a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial, which is about as good as you can get.
The mad scientists at Nestle took white chocolate, dyed it brown ,and then added some sort of fake chocolate flavor such that people couldn’t tell if they were eating the real chocolate or the fake. Comparable amounts of sugar and fat, but one had cocoa solids—phytonutrients, and the other basically didn’t. So they were able to put people on one and then switch them over without anyone knowing to see if their chronic fatigue symptoms got better or worse, and there was a significant improvement in the real chocolate group, meaning it apparently wasn’t just the yummy taste of chocolate but the action of the cacao phytonutrients.
Of course no one should be eating three chocolate bars a day but you can get the equivalent dose of cocoa solids, the equivalent dose of those wonderful cocoa phytonutrients by consuming two and a half tablespoons of cocoa powder a day. You can put it in coffee, you can make a chocolately smoothie, or my personal favorite, you can blend it in a high speed blender with frozen cherries or strawberries, a little nondairy milk, vanilla extract and some erythritol or some dates and you have instant, decadent chocolate ice cream (low fat, low calorie, no cholesterol, no added sugar) chocolate ice cream. The more of it you eat, the healthier you are, whether or not you're suffering from chronic fatigue.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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