On the heels of yet another study suggesting that dark chocolate may have health benefits, a team of researchers has come to a startling conclusion of its own—namely, that "if you want to eat chocolate, for f***'s sake, just eat it."
The researchers, led by William Vahnka, Ph.D., director of The Institute for Greater Enjoyment, surveyed more than a dozen studies on the neurological and physiological effects of chocolate consumption.
Some of these studies involved small groups of subjects monitored over a short time; others examined reams of data that spanned large populations. Some isolated a single compound found in chocolate—flavonoids, for example—while others found correlations between chocolate consumption and certain health events or risk factors.
What they have in common, said Dr. Vahnka, is that "they all get on my last nerve."
Dr. Vahnka took particular aim at recent research out of Kingston University in England and published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine. The gist of that research, as reported in The New York Times, is that "adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance."
"The findings," The Times goes on to say, "provide ammunition both for athletes looking for an edge and those hoping for an excuse to indulge."
"Ammunition? An excuse?" Dr. Vahnka said in an interview via Skype. "According to our double-blind study of 40 healthy adults, YOU DON'T NEED AN EXCUSE! You're a grown-up! Just have some f***ing chocolate and move on!"
"Cripes," he added.
Dr. Vahnka and his opinions are well known among chocolate researchers and health reporters. In 2010, he led a sit-in at the headquarters of Getty Images's Seattle headquarters, demanding an end to "those stock photos of women pretending to nibble chocolate and laugh," which invariably accompany coverage of such research.
At the time he described this imagery as "visually painful" and "a source of embarrassment for everyone involved, from the models to the self-loathing art directors who use these photos to anybody unlucky enough to see one under a headline like Finally, Some Diet Advice We Can Follow!"
That effort failed.
Dumb Runner's interview with Dr. Vahnka ended abruptly when we shifted gears, asking whether red wine really is "heart healthy," like we've read, and if so, whether that might help us justify "a glass (or two!) with dinner."
Several subsequent emails were not returned.