Prof. Saverio Stranges, a visiting academic of the University of Warwick Medical School, United Kingdom as well as the scientific director of the department of population Health at Luxembourg Institute of Health, alongside his colleagues, have released what will from now on be known as the most important medical study EVER to be completed.
Well, maybe not the most important. But it will probably make all of us a lot happier. Not just because of the deliciousness of chocolate, but regularly consuming small quantities could very well reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Does this mean that this sugary, fatty food group doesn’t actually do the harm we’re so accustomed to? Of course not. The overconsumption can definitely lead to numerous health problems, ranging from tooth decay to obesity. The study does however suggest that regular, moderate chocolate consumption may have, this is specifically true of dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate with its high cocoa content makes it rich in antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, which are molecules that can prevent some forms of cell damage.
The study analyzed the chocolate consumption of 1, 153 people aged between 18-69 who were part of the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study.
The team set out to investigate whether chocolate intake associated with insulin resistance where the body’s cells do not effectively respond to insulin, raising the risk for type 2 and heart disease. They also assessed how chocolate consumption affected liver enzyme levels, which is a measure of liver function.
The researchers found that 81.8 percent of the study participants consumed chocolate, with an average consumption of 24.8 grams daily. Those who ate chocolate every day were found to have reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzyme levels. The effect was higher, with the higher chocolate consumption. The findings were still conclusive after accounting for age, sex, education, lifestyle and dietary factors that could’ve influence the results.
Prof. Stranges and colleagues say their findings suggest that chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of developing cardio-metabolic disorders by improving liver enzyme levels and protecting against insulin resistance.
According to Dr Stranges, “Given the growing body of evidence, including our own study, cocoa-based products may represent an additional dietary recommendation to improve cardio metabolic health; however, observational results need to be supported by robust trial evidence.
Potential applications of this knowledge include recommendations by healthcare professionals to encourage individuals to consume a wide range of phytochemical-rich foods, which can include dark chocolate in moderate amounts.”
It is important to note that the results were relative to the chocolate being consumed containing natural cocoa, rather than the more commonly eaten high processed chocolate. Processed chocolate normally also contains more sugar and is higher in calories. So don’t just engorge yourself on your favorite chocolate, thinking it will help your heart!