It is known that eating chocolate can gain more body weight, which may causes health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
However, a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) shows that high chocolate consumption may reduce up to 37% of risk in heart disease and 29% of risk in stroke.
The researchers at University of Cambridge in England, undacion Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud in Colombia and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of previous research.
Researchers collected 4576 published papers from large database, including Medline, Embase, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Pascal, Cochrane Library, IPA and CINAHL.
They focused on the association between chocolate eating and several diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Among the papers, researchers selected 7 studies that included 114,009 participants.
Five of the 7 studies reported a beneficial association between higher chocolate eating and the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in heart disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels of chocolate consumption.
The benefit of chocolate eating may be related to the high content of polyphenols in cocoa products and bioavailability of nitric oxide. They may have beneficial effects on blood pressure and insulin resistance.
However, chocolates have high energy density and usually are full of fat and sugar, and people with diabetes and obesity may not be able to eat.
In the future, chocolate makers can reduce the fat and sugar in their products. This may help more people get benefits from chocolate eating.
Citation: Buitrago-Lopez A, et al. (2011). Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 343:d4488. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d4488. This cited article was published in 2011.
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