Consuming a small amount of dark chocolate every day could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to new research.
Dark chocolate has the highest cocoa content of all chocolates and the highest levels of flavonoids – these are molecules that can prevent cell damage.
In this new study, researchers analysed data of 1,153 people aged 18-69 years who participated in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study.
The primary objective of the research was to assess if chocolate intake was associated with insulin resistance, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The study team also investigated how chocolate consumption affected liver function.
The participants completed food frequency questionnaires to inform researchers of their chocolate consumption. It was found that 81.8 per cent of the participants consumed chocolate, with an average consumption of 24.8 grams daily.
Participants who ate 100g of chocolate each day, which is equivalent to a bar, had reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzymes. This effect was stronger among those with higher chocolate consumption.
People who ate more chocolate were more physically active and younger, but the researchers found that the findings remained after confounding factors such as age, sex, education, lifestyle and dietary factors were accounted for.
Tea and coffee were included in the evaluation of dietary factors because both drinks are rich in polyphenols, which could provide chocolate with its beneficial cardiometabolic effects.
Professor Saverio Stranges, visiting academic at the University of Warwick Medical School and Scientific Director of the Department of Population Health at the Luxembourg Institute of Health said: “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.
“However, it is important to differentiate between the natural product cocoa and the processed product chocolate.”
The study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Conversation about doctors’ appointments occurring virtually rumbles on

More than half of GP appointments are still being delivered remotely in…

Type 2 diabetes found to be a ‘significant risk factor’ among stroke victims

More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…