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Paul Whitaker’ Views on Chocolate and the Heart

Paul Whitaker is a scientist who has dedicated most of his life’s work towards the understanding of the human heart. Paul is thirty-eight years old and he works at Sacred Heart Hospital’s Cardiology Department. As the lead scientist in his department, Paul takes a lot of pride in his work. The scientist’s dedication towards the understanding of the human heart is also underlined by the fact that he believes that ‘the heart is the central organ in the human body’. Consequently, most aspects of human health can be addressed through good cardiology practices. Paul has a girlfriend named Amber, whom she has been dating for the last few months. After contemplating about the coming Valentine’s Day and the gift he should get his special lady, Paul has decided to approach his quagmire traditionally and get his girlfriend flowers and a box of chocolates. Naturally, this decision got the scientist in Paul to start thinking about chocolate as a food and its status in the society.

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Paul’s first memory of chocolate dates back when he was about seven years old. Since then, Paul’s relationship with chocolate as well as his consideration of the food has been changing from time to time. The first time Paul had chocolate, it was not in it pure form, but it had been mixed with wafers. Every time Paul accompanied his mother to the grocery store, he would always convince her to buy him the chocolate wafers that he had come to love so much. Paul’s mother on the other hand would remind him that too much of this sweet condiment would make his teeth decay and make him ‘hyper’ (as a result of the high sugar content). However, when Paul had his first full bar of chocolate he had mixed feelings about the possible side effects of this delicious item. Later on, Paul noted that there were various ‘grades’ of chocolate and purer forms of the food tended to cost more. Eventually, Paul grew to make chocolate his snack of choice. For instance, when most of his peers tried to experiment with smoking, he turned to chocolate to avoid the temptation. Furthermore, when Paul was in college he would often use chocolate as a snack during his long study sessions. Nevertheless, Paul has often had doubts about the sentimental connotations that are associated with chocolate.

According to Paul, chocolate is a food that has remained relevant to human being for ages. Its presence among us was first recorded adversely among the Incas who regarded the food quite highly. However, Paul notes that there has never been any agreement as to what makes chocolate so irresistible to human beings. The main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa beans and this fact eliminates any great mystery that might be associated with the food. The cocoa product lover reminisces that as a child, before he knew where chocolate came from, he would often associate the food with ‘gold’. There are various types of chocolates and current estimates point out that there could be in excess of 300 different types (Corti 1440). Paul’s favorite is dark chocolate mostly because he considers it to be the purest form of chocolate.

When a certain food is as popular as chocolate is, it is bound to be accompanied by myths (Polivy, Herman and Coelho 730). As a scientist, Paul is interested in facts and not any other form of rhetoric. The scientist remembers the first time he decided to spend one afternoon in the library in a bid to find out how his favorite snack might be affecting his overall health. What he remembers most about his first insights into chocolate is that when the snack is consumed in moderation, it is accompanied by almost no health complications. One of the factors that stood out in the research was the fact that throughout history, scientists have tried to discover what makes chocolate so ‘irresistible’ to human beings (Corti 1438). Research studies have also been carried out across the world with the view of establishing any health benefits that might accompany chocolate consumption.

As a heart scientist, Paul is more interested with the connection between chocolate and cardiology. One of the factors that have made Paul confident about giving his girlfriend a box of chocolates during Valentine’s Day is that he is convinced that the experience of “eating chocolate is better than that of kissing” (Gibson 602). This conclusion was arrived at after various sets of couples had their heart rates monitored first while they were consuming chocolate, and then while kissing. This experiment revealed that eating chocolate produced a more pronounced ‘high’ than kissing did. During his studies, Paul had often used kissing as a trigger for brain activity.

The fact that chocolate can produce a bigger brain trigger makes Paul understand why even his girlfriend Amber loves this snack. The food enthusiast is also of the view that good brain activity is often transferred to the rest of the body and the heart as well. One of the lead researchers in this study echoes this sentiment by noting that “there is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz” (Gibson 604). The study also indicated that the effects of consuming chocolate last almost four times longer compared to those of kissing. The psychoactive characteristics of kissing also coincide with the highlight of chocolate consumption; when it melts in the consumer’s mouth. The peak of the brain activity coincides with the instance when the chocolate melts in the mouth. Paul is in total agreement with this study as both a scientist and a chocolate lover. The validity of this research came from the fact that the test subjects had heart monitors in their chests and electrodes attached to their scalps during the experiment. The devices revealed that there was a considerable surge in both brain and heart activity when the tests subjects who were all in their twenties were consuming chocolate (Vlachopoulos 786). Therefore, the coming Valentine’s Day Paul intends to use his gift of chocolates to compliment his kissing skills.

Other than the kissing experiment, chocolate has another direct benefit to the human heart. Paul cites another study that was conducted to test the benefits of chocolate to the human heart. This study involved twenty-one thousand test subjects and it revealed that regular consumption of chocolate resulted in significantly lower instances of stroke and heart disease. Nevertheless, Paul observes that like other similar studies, this one notes that chocolate is only beneficial when it is consumed in small quantities. This case study was conducted in Britain over a period of eleven years. Consequently, the study appeals to Paul more because it is more scientific from the outset. The scientist reveals that this study revealed that the participants of the study consumed at least seven grams of chocolate per day and not more than one hundred grams. Overall this study revealed that “the top fifth of chocolate-eaters were 12% less likely to develop heart disease and 23% less likely to suffer a stroke compared with the bottom fifth of consumers” (Egan 1289).

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Flavanoids are the key components in chocolate and they are thought to have the biggest health benefits among chocolate consumers. However, this compound appears to have ‘slowing’ effect on individuals who may be at risk of cardiovascular diseases. Paul’s main argument is that higher consumption of chocolate does not appear to cause a subsequent high risk of cardiovascular ailments. Therefore, even individuals who are at risk of cardiovascular diseases are at liberty to enjoy moderate helpings of chocolate. This realization keeps Paul at ease because he is assured that he is not putting his health-conscious girlfriend at risk when he hands her a $100 box of assorted chocolates on valentines. According to Paul, when chocolates are consumed in moderation, they are not only good for the taste buds but they also do not affect the warranty of the heart.

In his daily research work, Paul concentrates on the heart and the network of arteries and veins that serve it. Consequently, Paul does not neglect to mention that a 2014 study found that dark chocolate “helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood cells” (Esser 3). As heart specialist, Paul reckons that having stiff arteries contributes to atherosclerosis a condition that is manifested through heart ailments. In this 2014 research study, the scientists also found that increasing the amount of flavanol in dark chocolate did not contribute to health complications among chocolate consumers. Paul goes on to explain that although flavanol does not have any adverse effects on the health of a chocolate consumer, it affects the taste outcomes. Consequently, flavanol can only motivate individuals to consume more or less chocolate.

The specifics of the study that was used to establish the effects of dark chocolate on cardiovascular health included a sample of “44 middle-aged overweight men over two periods of four weeks as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day” (Esser 5). Like the other studies that are cited by ‘Paul the scientist’, this one allows the heart specialist to indulge his senses without worrying about his health. In addition, Paul knows that the connection that human beings have with chocolate is almost spiritual. Paul also looks up to chocolates as an aid to his research on heart health. Paul’s view about chocolates is shaped by the elements of fear and curiosity. For instance, before embarking on his research into chocolate, Paul had always harbored a slight fear that his favorite food was endangering his health. This also explains why at one point chocolate ceased being a guilty pleasure for Paul and began being ‘health condiments’ and aphrodisiac amenities. Paul is also a career scientist and this explains his attraction to facts concerning his favorite snack. At one point, Paul’s sentiments about chocolate almost make him a crusader of this food. Nevertheless, Paul’s insights into the health benefits of chocolate are undeniable helpful.

Works Cited

Corti, Roberto. “Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health.” Circulation 119.10 (2009): 1433-1441. Print.

Egan, Brent. “Does Dark Chocolate Have a Role In The Prevention And Management of Hypertension? Commentary on the Evidence.” Hypertension 55.6 (2010): 1289-1295. Print.

Esser, Diederik. “Dark Chocolate Consumption Improves Leukocyte Adhesion Factors and Vascular Function in Overweight Men.” The Faseb Journal 9.1 (2013): 1-13. Print.

Gibson, Erik. “Emotional and Behavioral Aspects of Chocolate Eating.” Food and Nutrition 5.6 (2011): 601-620. Print.

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Polivy, Janet, Peter Herman, and Jennifer Coelho. “Caloric Restriction In The Presence Of Attractive Food Cues: External Cues, Eating, and Weight.” Physiology & Behavior 94.5 (2008): 729-733. Print.

Vlachopoulos, Charalambos. “Effect of Dark Chocolate on Arterial Function in Healthy Individuals.” American Journal of Hypertension 18.6 (2005): 785-791. Print.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Paul Whitaker’ Views on Chocolate and the Heart." May 6, 2020.


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