In recent years there has been a huge amount of research into the health properties of cacao and chocolate. The vast majority of it has debunked the perception that chocolate is an inherently unhealthy food and shown that the antioxidant flavanols in chocolate are in fact beneficial to heart and brain health.
However, with most of this research funded by industry giants with clear vested interests, it's important to look deeper into the science before taking these claims on face value.
When analysing research, you should first look to who funded it and whether the researchers declare any conflicts of interest. If you know where the money comes from, you'll understand what any individuals or businesses involved might have to gain from the findings.
Next, look at exactly what was tested, how the tests were performed and how that relates to the claims being made. For example, you might read a newspaper article entitled 'Research shows chocolate is healthy', but that does not mean you should change your diet to include large servings of off-the-shelf milk chocolate. You'll find that most of the research in the area has used modest amounts of dark chocolate - which is rich in cacao and lower in sugar and other additives - in testing. Any suggestion that milk or white chocolate offer similar health benefits to this cacao-rich food is most likely industry or media spin.
Below are links to some freely available chocolate research for you to look more carefully into. Have a read of the science, see how it relates to the chocolate you consume and think about whether this information will change your attitude towards chocolate.