Recently, chocolate has been touted for its ability to improve attention, which shows promise in the energy category, and help accelerate weight loss. This month, researchers performed a systematic review to evaluate chocolate consumption and cardiovascular outcomes (Heart. June 15, 2015). Using data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort, they quantified habitual chocolate intake using the baseline food frequency questionnaire (1993–1997) and cardiovascular end points, which were ascertained up to March 2008. A total of 20,951 men and women were included in EPIC-Norfolk analysis.
What they found is the percentage of participants with coronary heart disease (CHD) in the highest quintileconsuming the equivalent of about a half an American-sized candy barand lowest quintile of chocolate consumptionan averaged of 1.1 g/dwas 9.7 percent and 13.8 percent, and the respective rates for stroke were 3.1 percent and 5.4 percent. Those who ate the most chocolate not only had lower rates of heart attack and stroke, but they also had, on average, lower BMIs, lower systolic blood pressure and inflammation, and lower rates of diabetes. They also tended to exercise more.
In addition, the researchers found that compared with those who didn’t eat chocolate, heavy chocolate consumers were 25-percent less likely to suffer a wide range of cardiovascular events and 45-percent less likely to die of those events.
According to the researchers, “Cumulative evidence suggests higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events, although residual confounding cannot be excluded. There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk."