Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News Brief: The Temptations of Chocolate

Alex Sakers

Pass me the chocolate!

A short review of recent epidemiological research on the effects of chocolate on health has suggested that chocolate may actually be good for us. Specifically, a handful of observational studies found a correlation between increased chocolate consumption and better cardiometabolic health - ie. greater chocolate consumption correlated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. These results are consistent with the historical observation that cultures that consume more chocolate per capita have lower rates of these diseases compared to those that consume less chocolate per capita.
These results though promising and encouraging, especially in light of the fact that nearly many “comfort” foods are detrimental to our health, but they must be taken with a grain of salt. The studies performed used non-randomized groups and were observational. To verify their results, truly randomized and well controlled studies must be performed. Until then, keep eating your chocolate.

Reference: Mackenbach, Joseph P. "Editorial: The Temptations of Chocolate." BMJ 2011; 343:d5883. Sep 20 2011.
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