Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Chocoholics Are Celebrating – New Research Finds Eating Chocolate Is Good for Heart Health!

Great News for Chocolate Lovers
Great News for Chocolate Lovers
Can you hear the loud cheering? It’s the sound of chocoholics across the world celebrating at the news that eating up to 100g of chocolate every day is good for heart health as it's linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk! 
In research published in the Heart online journal (link: heartjnl-2014-307050) , researchers at the University of Aberdeen have concluded that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for cutting out chocolate to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Quite the reverse, they found that when compared with the 1-in-5 people in the study who ate no chocolate, chocolate eaters were linked to an:

  • 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • 23% lower risk of stroke

And they point out that as more milk chocolate was eaten than dark chocolate, they are not restricting their conclusions to the dark chocolate only, which has traditionally been considered to be "healthier"! 


Low Fat Brownie Bites
Low Fat Brownie Bites

Their Research Conclusion

“Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.”


How Robust is the Study?

The researchers at researchers at the University of Aberdeen have drawn their conclusions from two main sources. Firstly, they analysed the impact of diet on the long term health on adults over a 12 year period (21,000 adults). They also completed a systematic peer review of nine existing internationally published studies that looked at the links between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, (totalling almost 158,000 people, including the 21k in their own study).


3 Reasons Why We Should Cautious About This

By their own admission, the researchers have added their own health-warnings to this heart-health study!
  1. They make the point that as this was an observational study, they cannot draw any definitive conclusions about cause and effect. 
  2. They also acknowledge that food frequency questionnaires do involve a certain amount of recall bias and underestimation of items eaten.
  3. Finally, they draw attention to something called “reverse causation”. This is whereby those with a higher cardiovascular disease risk profile may eat less chocolate and foods containing it than those who are healthier and this may also help to explain their findings.
Nevertheless, they conclude: “There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.

Looking for Chocolate Inspiration?

Lower Fat Dark Chocolate Pots
Lower Fat Dark Chocolate Pots
As I'm a firm believer in following a balanced diet that does allow healthier treats and occassionally includes really indulgent, celebratorty feasts, you may want read my blog posts  Perfectly Portioned and Ultimate Gluten-Free Chocolate Recipes.

Also, if you liked the look of the sweet treats pictured top, they are my oh-so-moreish Vanilla & Cashew Nut Butter Cup Chocolates and you can find the recipe here.

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