Should We Eat Chocolate?

It's looking more like properly processed chocolate can be a health food, according to a new study in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For long-time readers of my eHealthy News You Can Use newsletter, this should come as no surprise, as I posted an article on this same topic seven years ago.

This new study tracked 15 healthy adults whose diets were supplemented daily with either 90 grams of white chocolate or 100 grams of dark chocolate. Not surprisingly, dark chocolate -- with its higher antioxidant content -- was linked with improved insulin resistance and sensitivity and decreased systolic blood pressure, while white chocolate had no effect.

Researchers believe the regulation of nitric oxide production by the flavanols present in dark chocolate could explain its favorable effect on both insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. It is uncertain how flavanols interact with the body, however, to increase nitric oxide bioavailability. Insulin-mediated cell signaling could be one mechanism, because insulin can modulate several signaling molecules involved in nitric oxide-synthase regulation.

For now, the key in regard to chocolate will be to wait for announcements of products that employ these new processing techniques. I am plugged into the news media on this topic so I will keep you posted as soon as they are released. But it is very clear that this effect is real.

In the meantime, if you choose to eat chocolate, follow these simple guidelines:

  • If you eat chocolate, only eat dark chocolate.
  • Only eat chocolate if you're healthy.
  • Consume it in moderation.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 81, No. 3, 541-542, March 2005 Free Full Text Article

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 81, No. 3, 611-614, March 2005

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