On October 4, 2012 from 12-1 pm, Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb will speak about “Chocolate: My Favorite Vegetable” as part of the UCSD Biomedical Library lunchtime seminar series.
Chocolate is a “vegetable.” It is a plant-based product, rich in “phytonutrients” and antioxidants, with health protective properties. Chocolate has long been viewed as an indulgence, and like many indulgences, has been presumed best avoided. But when the evidence is viewed, chocolate has repeatedly – defied supposition, producing favorable effects on (or bearing favorable associations to) blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, cholesterol profiles, heart disease, cognitive function, and (is it possible?) dental cavities. Favorable associations to longevity have even been documented. Still, trifling matters like lifespan have garnered far less attention than has the finding that regular chocolate consumption is linked – mirabile dictu to more favorable body weight. As is the case for many nutrients, regular consumption, not necessarily high quantity, shows the most favorable profile. In keeping with the contrarian character of evidence relative to supposition, the one outcome chocolate has been popularly presumed to benefit is the one which the evidence fails to support. Which one? Some mysteries must be left to the talk.
Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego with a joint appointment in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She has been lead investigator on a number of studies and clinical trials with research interests under two broad themes: medical reasoning; and the impact of oxidative stress and cell energetics in health, aging, and disease. Offshoots of the former interest include (among others) treatment/exposure risk-benefit balance, impact of conflict of interest on medical findings and information purveyal, why double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trials are none of the above, and placebos. Branches of the latter interest include cholesterol and statin drugs, metabolic syndrome, aging, ALS, autism, and Gulf War illness, as well as antioxidant and pro-oxidant foods/nutrients/exposures such as coenzyme Q10, trans fats, pesticides – and, of course, chocolate. A number of her studies have been featured in national and international print, radio and television media, from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Economist to Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” Space is limited so RSVP as soon as possible in order to reserve a seat. Feel free to bring a discreet lunch; cookies and water will be provided.