Tags: Health Topics | chocolate | heart health | flavanols

Chocolate Is Good for Your Heart, Multiple Studies Confirm

Chocolate Is Good for Your Heart, Multiple Studies Confirm

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By    |   Tuesday, 18 October 2016 01:30 PM

Chocolate lovers have a new reason to indulge: Multiple studies show chocolate benefits cardiovascular health.

No less than 19 randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) confirmed compounds in chocolate called flavanols are the reason why, according to the analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Combined, 1,139 volunteers were involved in these trials. The greatest effects were seen among study participants who ate between 200 and 600 milligrams of flavanols a day based on chocolate consumption. Participants saw declines in blood glucose and insulin, as well as another indicator of insulin resistance called HOMA-IR. They also saw an increase in HDL — "good" cholesterol.

Those consuming higher doses saw some of the insulin resistance benefits and a drop in triglycerides, but not a significant increase in HDL. Those with lower doses of flavanols only saw a significant HDL benefit.

Dr. Simin Liu, professor and director of the Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health at Brown University worked with epidemiology graduate student and lead author Xiaochen Lin. In general, Lin said, benefits were evident for both women and men and they didn't depend on what form the flavanol-rich cocoa product was consumed in — dark chocolate vs. a beverage, for example.

"The treatment groups of the trials included in our meta-analysis are primarily dark chocolate. A few were using cocoa powder-based beverages," Lin said. "Therefore, the findings from the current study apparently shouldn't be generalized to different sorts of chocolate candies or white chocolates, of which the content of sugar/food additives could be substantially higher than that of the dark chocolate."

The authors concluded, "Our study highlights the urgent need for large, long-term RCTs that improve our understanding of how the short-term benefits of cocoa flavanol intake on cardiometabolic biomarkers may be translated into clinical outcomes."

All of the studies were small and short in duration. Not all of the biomarkers tracked in these studies changed for the better, and none of the studies were designed to test directly whether cocoa flavanol consumption leads to reduced cases of heart attacks or Type 2 diabetes.
 

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Chocolate lovers have a new reason to indulge: Multiple studies show chocolate benefits cardiovascular health.
chocolate, heart health, flavanols
339
2016-30-18
Tuesday, 18 October 2016 01:30 PM
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