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Chocs away! Heart disease risk reduced by chocolate

By Colin Ricketts - 29 Aug 2011 15:23:0 GMT
Chocs away! Heart disease risk reduced by chocolate

Good news for chocolate lovers has been confirmed in a new study that finds eating high levels of the world's favourite confection could cause a one third reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.

The study is published on the website of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and examined previous evidence that pointed to the benefits of eating chocolate, although the jury's not quite out yet and the high fat and sugar content of some chocolate products remain a possible health risk.

The team looked at seven recent studies of the effect of chocolate on cardiometabolic disorders which included over 110,000 participants.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), by 2030, nearly 24 million people-a-year will die from heart disease.

Dr Oscar Franco his Cambridge University team wanted to see how strong the evidence for chocolate reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke was. In each of the seven studies they reviewed they compared the incidence of the diseases in the groups with the highest and lowest levels of chocolate consumption.

Five of the seven studies had found in chocolate's favour and, according to the team the, "highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels." There appeared to be little relation between chocolate consumption and heart failure.

All sorts of chocolate were covered in the study - plain, milk, pure chocolate bars and drinks, desserts and other products containing chocolate.

The authors say they are not issuing a green light to binge on chocs - which can contribute to weight gain and associated problems (including a higher risk of heart disease) - but argue that work should be done to make chocolate more healthy by reducing the sugar and fat content of products containing it.

Top Image Credit: Chocolate © looby