Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dark Chocolate May Not Always Be Good For Your Heart

Dark Chocolate May Not Always Be Good For Your Heart

Medical News Today

03 Jan 2008

According to an Editorial in the Lancet, dark chocolate that is rich in flavenols might be good for the heart. However, to gain the health benefits from dark chocolate might prove difficult.

According to a study in Circulation, in 11 heart transplant recipients, dark chocolate which is rich in flavenols , induced coronary vasodilatation and improved coronary vascular function, compared with patients consuming a flavenol-free control chocolate. Dark chocolate has been shown to have cardiovascular benefits in other studies too.

For dark chocolate to have any health benefit flavenols have to be present in the chocolate. However, some chocolate manufacturers take out the flavenols from the darkened cocoa solids; this means that the chocolate has no health benefit.

Manufacturers often do not label their products with information about flavenols . So, before you go out to buy dark chocolate beware of the catch, states the Editorial.

Dark chocolate is rich in calories, so in order to gain any health benefit from flavenol-rich dark chocolate, you would have to reduce your intake of other foods to balance the calories. The editorial warns, "The devil in the dark chocolate is the fat, sugar, and calories it contains."

The Editorial concludes: "Of course some would say that, in terms of food intake, the best and simplest health message would be to stay away from the chocolate and eat a healthy, balanced diet, low in sugar, salt, and fat, and full of fresh fruit and vegetables." "The devil in the dark chocolate"

The Lancet Volume 370, Number 9605, 22 December 2007 page 2070

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