It’s a funny thing about the choices we declare for ourselves, and the rationalizations we make when we don’t stick to those choices. I’ve always felt that chocolate chip cookies were the perfect example of this cognitive dissonance.
Aside from those few benighted souls who dislike chocolate, chocolate chip cookies are the epitome of pleasure — sugar, fat and chocolate are guaranteed to hit every palatability measure out of the park. In simple terms, they make our brains happy when we eat them. The question is, is it OK for us to make ourselves happy that way, or do we need to jettison them forever?
There is little debate nowadays in the medical/wellness community over the fact that sugar is largely responsible for most of what ails us. We used to think that the saturated fat in butter and chocolate was bad for us but it turns out the main culprit is almost certainly the sugar.
Chocolate itself, especially cocoa and dark chocolate with a lower sugar content, is so good for us it’s practically medicinal.
Too much sugar causes insulin spikes, which can eventually lead to diabetes. Given that my mother died of the complications of diabetes, you can imagine that I am pretty sensitive to anything that could send me or my loved ones in that direction.
I have asked myself many times, hand guiltily in the cookie jar, what it is about chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies in particular, that overrides every sensible mechanism in our brains? Especially for women, when the hormones come a-calling.
There is research that makes a functional connection between digestive issues and female hormone imbalances, and it makes sense to me. But men have their own cycle and their own hormone craziness, even if it’s not governed by the moon, and they may be self-medicating with chocolate, as well.
I do think that this is part of the answer — that hormonal imbalances lead us to crave chocolate. Don’t ask me how it works, and I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but it’s worth thinking about.
There’s no doubt in my mind that too many chocolate chip cookies will eventually lead to undesirable outcomes. But in our rush to heal ourselves with food, let’s just remember one thing..
Everybody needs a chocolate chip cookie sometimes. Just not too often.
What do you think?