Does chocolate deserve guilt?
Written by Sadie Wirthlin
Chocolate is a smooth and delicious treat that has been pleasing people’s pallets for years! It covers ice cream in syrup, it puts the chip in chocolate chip cookies, and it is considered the ultimate dessert. It also tops the list of guilty pleasures for most people. Well what if chocolate wasn’t as “unhealthy” has everyone thought?
A study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed some significant health benefits from chocolate. Prof. Saverio Stranges, Scientific Director of the Department of Population Health at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), was the lead author of the study. Chocolate has always been perceived as having high fat and sugar content, and this is true when over-consumed, but Stranges found that regular, moderate chocolate consumption, particularly dark chocolate, can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Stranges emphasized in a press release that while the right chocolate could even be part of a dietary recommendation, consumers need to be aware of what they’re buying.
“It is important to differentiate between the natural product cocoa and the processed product chocolate, which is an energy-dense food. ” he said.
Quick Stat: 80% of participants in the study claimed to eat an average of 24.8 grams (.87 ounces) of chocolate a day.
Prof. Stranges analyzed chocolate consumption in over 1,100 adults, ranging from ages 18-69, to test the benefits. He found that, compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate everyday, those that consumed an average of 24.8 grams (.87 ounces) daily had reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzyme levels. These findings suggest that chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders.
Prof. Stranges states that their study, along with others from the past, suggests that cocoa-based products may improve cardiometabolic health. Encouraging dietary recommendations to include a wide range of “phytochemical-rich foods, including dark chocolate in moderate amounts” could result in health benefits.
Another LIH researcher involved with the study pointed out that people who eat more chocolate may be part of a more “favourable socio-demographic profile,” with a healthier lifestyle. In their study, chocolate eaters were more physically actives than others, which may explain the relationship to insulin resistance.
More studies on the link between chocolate and reduced disease risk need to be done, but maybe a delicious bite of dark chocolate on the daily isn’t so bad after all.
Source: Medicalnewstoday.com, www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/eating_chocolate_each