Even though the Financial Times has chosen to lead today’s edition with the following headline, ‘IMF to upgrade UK growth forecast to 2.4%, I found myself drawn to the following news found deep within the pixels of the online edition:
‘Red wine and chocolate could fight type 2 diabetes, research says.’
The article describes how a study of 2,000 women in the UK by the University of East Anglia and published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that flavanoids, which are present in chocolate and red wine, protect against diabetes. I suppose I should also mention that flavanoids are also found in certain berries, herbs and fruit.
I had to sniff this story out, but as I am used to wandering the internal pages of the FT and other financial publications or research papers in search of less interesting data, it came as a nice surprise. And I have celebrated by buying a bottle of red wine and some chocolate.
Unfortunately, there are a few caveats.
While the integrity and nature of the study are not questioned, the head of Diabetes UK notes the benefits of flavaniods may be outweighed by the calorific value of the chocolate and alcohol in the wine. Spoilsport.
Even then, the existence of flavaniods may be coincidental with the lowering of diabetes risk i.e. the first doesn’t necessarily cause the latter.
Finally, I am currently in the early stages of the annual post Christmas diet. I call it the MEEL diet (more exercise: eat less), because that’s what they all ultimately seem to involve – although today will be a day off. Right now, I am sure that chocolate and red wine are good for me and I will focus on any information that confirms this, as I want it to be true. In other words, I am biased.
This natural bias is known in behavioural finance as confirmation bias and it’s especially bad if you are susceptible to it in an investment context – bullish investors ignore well reasoned bearish views and news and concentrate only on those that are bullish and confirm their existing beliefs. This is particularly evident at present. The opposite is true for those who are overwhelmingly bearish. It’s better for those afflicted to get informed advice and/or follow a passive strategy.
So, we may be some way off being able to say conclusively that an Eton mess dessert, full of berries, drizzled in chocolate sauce and accompanied with a nice glass of red is somehow sugar neutral, but if there’s a chance it’s better with the sauce and wine – who am I to argue? Cheers