Skip to comments.Chocolate Benefits Touted in Study
Posted on 08/29/2011 9:08:41 AM PDT by freespirited
PARIS -- Willy Wonka may have been on to something with that chocolate factory, according to a meta-analysis that suggests chocolate can provide a heart benefit.
In six studies, people who ate the most chocolate -- about two pieces of chocolate per week -- had a 37% lower risk of any cardiovascular disease compared with those who ate less (RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.90), according to Oscar Franco, MD, PhD, of the University of Cambridge in England.
And in three studies, those who consumed the most had a 29% lower risk of stroke (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.98), he reported at the European Society of Cardiology meeting here. The findings were published simultaneously online in BMJ.
Citing the inability to establish causation from a meta-analysis, Franco said that more experimental studies are needed to confirm any potential benefits of chocolate before revising any recommendations regarding a healthy diet.
He noted that most commercially available chocolate products are high in fat, sugar, and calories, and that overindulging could counteract any of the potential benefits, a sentiment echoed by Janet Wright, MD, vice president of science and quality for the American College of Cardiology.
"We tend to take a little bit of advice and think that more is better," she said in an interview. "In this case, more is probably not better because of the fat content and the calorie content."
Several previous studies -- some funded by chocolate manufacturers -- have identified potential heart-healthy benefits of chocolate -- usually of the dark variety -- attributed to antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects. Effects on insulin sensitivity, vascular endothelial function, and nitric oxide production have also been proposed.
To further explore the relationship between chocolate and cardiovascular health, Franco and colleagues identified seven studies -- six observational and one cross-sectional -- that examined the issue. The studies -- none of which reported industry funding -- included 114,009 people from the U.S., Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany.
In the studies, the participants reported their consumption of chocolate in all forms, without a distinction between dark chocolate and other types.
Because all of the studies had a different way to report chocolate consumption, the researchers stratified the participants into high consumption or lower consumption. Franco approximated the cutoff as two pieces of chocolate per week, although he could not define the size of a piece based on the analysis.
Of the six studies with any cardiovascular disease as an outcome, three identified a significantly lower risk and three identified a nonsignificantly lower risk in people consuming the highest amount of chocolate. The pooled analysis revealed a significantly lower risk.
Of the three studies with stroke as an outcome, one found a significant reduction in risk and two found a nonsignificantly lower risk of stroke in the people who consumed the most chocolate. The pooled result was significant.
Chocolate consumption was not related to the risk of heart failure in two studies.
Franco said that it is unclear what components of chocolate might be responsible for the beneficial effects, if in fact, chocolate consumption is causally related to cardiovascular health.
"My opinion is that foods are very composite structures where multiple substances interact and contribute together to have a beneficial effect," he said.
Willy Wonka may have been on to something with that chocolate factory, according to a meta-analysis that suggests chocolate can provide a heart benefit
Don’t let the Obamacare physicians find this out....They will Prescribe you a Snickers bar because it’s cost effective compared to other meds.....LOL
A French study? ... Then this whipped chocolate flavored vodka I add to ruby port, and enjoy on the rocks for sipping is good for me? ... I’ve lived long enough that my vices are now beneficial????
OMG, 2 pieces a week? That’s nothing!