Research links chocolate consumption with 'lower heart disease and stroke risk' - but let's not get too excited
So, chocolate is more nice than naughty now. At least according to a new piece of research.
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal's Heart magazine found that people who ate a small bar of chocolate a day had an 11% lesser risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23% reduced risk of stroke, compared to those who ate no chocolate.
Did we mention the researchers, from the University of Aberdeen, looked at over 20,000 people? And that most of the participants ate milk chocolate instead of dark (usually purported to be healthier).
However, those who ate the most chocolate also tended to be younger and thinner, with lower blood pressure, less incidence of diabetes and were more likely to exercise - making them less likely to suffer from cardiovascular issues.
"This is one in a long line of research papers linking chocolate eating to health. What was a bit different with this one was that it suggested that the effect extended to milk chocolate. What needs to be treated with caution before reaching out for a bar of chocolate is to look at the type of research it was.
"It asked people about the chocolate they ate, then monitored their health for a number of years; this could mean ‘shy chocolate eaters’ might not say they are eating chocolate or those with health problems may change their eating habits during the study, something often referred to as reverse causality, meaning we cannot say which is the cause and the effect."
Dr. Mellor also warns that the chocolate used in clinical studies that is high in flavonoid compounds (which have been shown to improve the bounciness of a blood vessels, lower blood pressure and improve fat levels in the blood) isn't necessarily easily found in the shops.
"So, chocolate may have some benefits linked to heart health, but it is also a food that is very high in energy, fat and sugar which may reduce these benefits and potentially increase the risk of health problems and weight gain.
"Key tip is to really enjoy (not feel guilty about) small amounts of chocolate, then you may get any benefits without risking the problems linked to excesses."