Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Chocolate may reduce blood pressure levels and lower the risk of heart disease, according to a study recently published in the European Heart Journal. This finding follows earlier research demonstrating possible health benefits of chocolate, including reduced risk of stroke, lowered blood pressure and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity.

The researchers followed 19,357 people between the ages of 35 and 65 for at least ten years. Participants, who were enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Study, received medical checkups at the start of the study and provided information about their lifestyle, health, and diet, including how frequently they ate a 50-gram (1.8-ounce) bar of chocolate and how many of these bars they consumed in each instance. Every two to three years until 2006, the participants received follow-up questionnaires asking whether they had had a heart attack or stroke; this information was then verified using medical records.

For analysis, the participants were divided into four groups based on how much chocolate they reported consuming. Those in the group that ate the most chocolate — an average of about 7.5 grams daily — were found to have a blood pressure that was lower by roughly 1 mm Hg systolic and 0.9 mm Hg diastolic than people in the group that ate the least chocolate. People eating the most chocolate also had a 27% reduced risk of heart attack and a 48% reduced risk of stroke compared to people eating the least chocolate.

Lead researcher Brian Bujisse, PhD, indicated that a “healthy-user effect” (a scenario in which the type of people who engage in a certain behavior are healthier people to begin with) is unlikely, because people who consumed more chocolate consumed lower levels of fruits, vegetables, and dairy compared to people eating less chocolate.

The researchers suspect that the flavanols (naturally occurring plant compounds) found in cocoa might be responsible for the benefits of chocolate on the heart. Because more flavanols are found in dark chocolate, its effect may be greater. The investigators note that further research is needed before any recommendations can be made about chocolate consumption.

Frank Ruschitzka, speaking on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, stated that “Basic science has demonstrated quite convincingly that dark chocolate particularly, with a cocoa content of at least 70%, reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular and platelet function. However, before you rush to add dark chocolate to your diet, be aware that 100 g[rams] of dark chocolate contains roughly 500 calories. As such, you may want to subtract…calories, by cutting back on other foods, to avoid weight gain.”

To learn more, read the article “Chocolate Might Reduce Blood Pressure and Risk of Heart Disease, Research Suggests” or see the study’s abstract in the European Heart Journal.

POST A COMMENT       
  

Comments
  1. Gotta wonder if Cocoa would do the same thing without the carb load?

    Posted by SpectreWriter |
  2. The problem with publicity generated by such research is that it might give some people (e.g.chocoholics) who don’t read the “fine print” license to overindulge. Note that it is not all chocolate that seems to be beneficial, but instead it appears it’s the flavanoids in the dark chocolate that confer benefit.

    I add raw cocoa (no added sugar) to my coffee every morning, along with a non-nutritive sweetener. All I can say is that it tastes good, and hopefully is good for me.

    Posted by George |
  3. Like to see the other stats, such as weight and exercise as well.

    Posted by linda |
  4. I eat dark chocloate everyday I beleive it help
    my atrial fib.

    Posted by EVA |
  5. Not all chocolates are bad. There are ltos of additives in some chocolates, and milk chocolate has all sorts of things you don’t want. T

    Posted by John Gaydon |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Nutrition & Meal Planning
Nutrition for Neuropathy (09/02/14)
Foods Gone Bad: How to Know If Your Food Is Safe to Eat (08/08/14)
Beer and Health: Nine Questions Answered (08/04/14)
Which Butter (or Spread) Is Better? (07/28/14)

Heart Health
Pistachios Offer Protection for People With Diabetes (08/29/14)
Which Butter (or Spread) Is Better? (07/28/14)
High-Salt Diet Doubles Heart Risk in Type 2 Diabetes (07/25/14)
One in Ten Heart Attack Patients Has Undiagnosed Diabetes (06/19/14)

Diabetes Research
Pistachios Offer Protection for People With Diabetes (08/29/14)
New Approach for Neuropathy Pain? (08/18/14)
Metformin Study Currently Recruiting (08/19/14)
FDA Approves New Oral Drug for Type 2 Diabetes (08/07/14)

Diane Fennell
Pistachios Offer Protection for People With Diabetes (08/29/14)
New Approach for Neuropathy Pain? (08/18/14)
New Metformin Combo Drug Approved for Type 2 Diabetes (08/13/14)
FDA Approves New Oral Drug for Type 2 Diabetes (08/07/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.