5 Sweet Facts About Chocolate

Only a few things in life are universal. People are born, people die, and people love chocolate. To celebrate National Chocolate Day, grab a box of your favorite chocolate treat and see how much you can eat while you learn these 5 fun facts.

Chocolate was once used as currency.

In the Aztec culture, the cacao bean was so well loved that it was used instead of cash. Centuries later, it was also substituted for salaries during the Revolutionary War. Imagine getting a pound of chocolate instead of a paycheck? We probably wouldn’t complain — until we ate it all, that is.

“Chocolat Ideal” by Alphonse Mucha

Chocolate syrup doubled as fake blood in black and white films.

Due to its viscosity and opacity, chocolate syrup was the standard stand-in for blood during the era of black and white film. Most famously, the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho featured Bosco Chocolate Syrup. We can’t imagine a more delicious way to fake a death.

“Chocolat Au Lait”

Chocolate used to get you drunk.

Part of the reason that chocolate passed as Mayan currency probably had to do with its purportedly inebriating effect, which may have had to do with the infrequency of sugar highs at the time. It’s also theorized that cacao was once served mixed with alcohol. Sounds old school? Well, chocolate as a stimulant is back in style.

“Chocolate (Theobromine) Molecule” poster

Chocolate is truly the “food of the gods.”

The scientific name for the cacao tree is “Theobroma cacao,” which comes from the Greek word for “food of the gods.” θεός, pronounced theos, means “god”, and βρῶμα, pronounced broma, means “food.” This name comes from Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who must have been the original chocoholic.

“Chocolate Collection” by Dina Belenko

There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Know how dogs tragically can’t eat chocolate? Turns out the theobromine in chocolate that acts as a poison to our four-legged friends can also be deadly to humans! Uh-oh. Luckily, the level of chocolate that you would have to ingest to cause injury is pretty high: about one gram of chocolate per kilogram of your body weight is what it would take to kill the average human. That means it would take a whopping twelve pounds of dark chocolate to kill you. That’s almost eighty pounds of milk chocolate – which sounds pretty safe, at least until those post-Halloween candy sales come around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *