Bryan Johnson Eats This Treat Every Day. Should You?

The internet’s infamous tech mogul turned anti-aging guru is determined to live forever, and says eating chocolate everyday is helping him do it. Here’s what an expert thinks.

In his most recent YouTube video, health and fitness enthusiast Bryan Johnson shared that he eats chocolate every single day as a part of his efforts to stay young.

In the video, which has garnered over 650k views, Johnson advises his followers to take his advice and adopt his daily chocolate habit — though he emphasizes that he’s not referring to any old chocolate bar.

Instead, Johnson recommends eating cocoa in its purest form, touting its many benefits for brain and heart health.

Amy Reichelt, Ph.D., a nutritional neuroscientist and the chief innovation officer at PurMinds Neuropharma, tells Healthnews that eating cocoa can benefit your health, but it all depends on the kind of cocoa you purchase.

“If people want to try eating small amounts of high-quality cocoa, then it is their choice, and it would likely be a more healthy snack than a sugar-laden standard chocolate bar,” Reichelt says. “Worst case, it could just be a very expensive and bitter chocolate experience.”

The benefits of pure cocoa

According to Reichelt, cocoa, in its pure form, contains bioactive compounds, especially flavonoids. These flavonoids, which include flavanols and epicatechin, are antioxidants.

“Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals generated in cells in the body or from environmental exposure, reducing levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, which are linked to various chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer,” she explains.

In lab studies, flavonoids have been shown to preserve cognitive abilities in aging rats. They’ve also been shown to have positive effects on both the cardiovascular system and cerebral blood flow, which may enhance brain function.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges the heart health benefit, stating that very limited scientific evidence suggests that consuming cocoa flavanols in high flavanol cocoa powder may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cocoa also contains small levels of compounds, including tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyrosine, tryptamine, and tyramine. These compounds can act as central nervous system stimulants or as the building blocks of some neurotransmitters that may enhance mood when consumed, especially alongside a little caffeine, which can act as a cognitive pick-me-up, Reichelt says.

But it’s important to note that these health claims are based on high-flavanol containing cocoa, not your average bar of chocolate or cooking cocoa powder, she says.

“For any possible health benefits, the cocoa should have at least 4% cocoa flavanols,” Reichelt explains. “The best way of getting cocoa flavanols is through cocoa powder that is as natural as possible and has not been processed through the Dutch method, which reduces the content of flavanols.”

Johnson sells his own form of 100% pure cocoa on his Blueprint website for $49. He says the company makes sure to retain the cocoa's natural acidity and is tested for contaminants like lead and cadmium.

Bryan Johnson's anti-aging advice may not be for everyone

While Johnson’s recommendation may have some weight behind it, Reichelt says it’s important to take all health and diet advice with a grain of salt, as nutrition is deeply personal and not one-size-fits-all.

“Seeing people touting diets that helped them lose weight, improve their skin, or gain muscle should be taken lightly, as everyone has different metabolic demands, food preferences and intolerances, and levels of activity,” she says.

Plus, she adds that eating large amounts of one or two foods over a long period instead of eating a balanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

So while Johnson's precise habits may be a little extreme for the average person, adding a little pure cocoa into your life couldn’t hurt too much, Reichelt says — just don’t expect it to taste like a Hersey’s Bar.

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