Chocolate lovers rejoice! More findings suggest that regular consumption of chocolate may decrease the risk of cardiovascular events and stroke in otherwise-healthy people.

Analysis of almost 21,000 adults from the UK’s Epic-Norfolk study showed that those who ate the most chocolate had an 11% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) and a 25% lower risk of CV-related death over 12 years of follow-up when compared with those who ate no chocolate. Also, the highest-consumption group had a 23% lower risk of stroke.

The authors, led by Dr. Chun Shing Kwok of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland note that although cause and effect could not be shown in these observational studies, cumulative evidence suggests that there is an association at play.

Interestingly, the participants in the study ate more milk chocolate than dark chocolate, which may indicate that “not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association,” write the authors.

The non-chocolate-eating group had the highest mean body-mass index, the highest percentage of participants with diabetes, and the highest levels of inactivity. And, “higher chocolate intake was associated with a higher energy intake, with lower contributions from protein and alcohol sources and higher contributions from fat and carbohydrates,” write the investigators.

Overall, the authors say that their analyses do not show causation. However, “within the general context of existing recommendations for behaviors conductive to cardiovascular health, there does not appear to be evidence that chocolate should be avoided.”
June 16, 2015

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