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12 Bits On Chocolate and Health

12 Bits On Chocolate and Health

  • ©agsandrew/
    Clearly, people love their chocolate! But is eating chocolate really good for your patients’ health? Savor these slides for a concise summary of this food favorite’s medicinal pros and cons.
  • ©argus/
    The world consumes more than 7 million tons of chocolate each year, and US sales alone are predicted to reach $22.4 billion in 2017.
  • A chocolate lover's history of the world.
    Fast forward from 13.82 billion years ago when the universe was born to the 21st century, and the multiple studies that show varying effects of chocolate on health and well-being.
  • ©Svetlana Lukienko/
    Among the potential benefits of eating chocolate: lower cholesterol levels, prevention of cognitive decline, and reduction of cardiovascular risks.
    ©Svetlana Lukienko/
  • ©Lucky Business/
    Chocolate may protect the CV system because the cocoa bean is rich in flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Flavonols, the main type of flavonoid in cocoa and chocolate, have other potential influences on vascular health (eg, lowering blood pressure).
    ©Lucky Business/
  • ©stockcreations/
    Daily chocolate consumption was associated with significantly lower CHD risk, stroke, composite CV adverse outcome, and CV mortality in a study from the UK.
    Kwok CS, Boekholdt SM, Lentjes MAH, et al. Habitual chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy men and women. Heart doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2014-307050. More information, here.
  • Chocolate and cognition.
    Some factoids about chocolate consumption and cognition.
  • © Ollyy/
    Not all studies of chocolate have shown salubrious effects: some studies have linked the confection with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
    Hodgson JM.Devine A, Burke V,et al. Chocolate consumption and bone density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan;87:175-180. More information, here.
  • Here are 3 things you can tell your patients about chocolate consumption.
  • Chocolate or cocoa? Make it the latter.
  • What does the literature say about the effect of chocolate on blood pressure? Cancer? Stroke? Leg ulcers? Here's a sample of the data. (See links at end of introduction)
  • ©msaandy033/
    To your good health?

Nine out of 10 people say they like chocolate, and the tenth is lying, it was written somewhere in Switzerland. That was scribbled in graffiti, but it must be true: The world consumes more than 7 million tons of chocolate each year, and US sales alone are predicted to reach $22.4 billion in 2017. And now people are eating chocolate for medical reasons as well as decadent indulgence. To paraphrase a classic beer commercial: tastes great, better health.

Actually, evidence of medical use of chocolate was found in Mesoamerican civilizations as early as 600 B.C. Chocolate started to be used for medical reasons in Europe in the 16th century, but debate arose about identification of its properties in terms of dietetics. During the 20th century, the concept of chocolate being good for the diet overcame its concept as good medicine. But recent times have seen a rehabilitation of chocolate consumption from a medical point of view.

Here's a sample of the data.

Bitzer ZT, Glisan SL, Dorenkott MR, et al. Cocoa procyanidins with different degrees of polymerization possess distinct activities in models of colonic inflammation. J Nutr Biochem. 2015;26:827-831. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Walters MR, Williamson C, Lunn K, Munteanu A. Chocolate consumption and risk of stroke: A prospective cohort of men and meta-analysis. Neurology. 2013;80:1173-1174. 

Reid K, Sullivan TR, Fakler P, Frank OK, Stocks NP. Effect of cocoa on blood pressure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;8:CD008893.

Scallon C, Bell-Syer SE, Aziz Z. Flavonoids for treating venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;31:CD006477.



I loved this quiz because it was so sweet

bina @

I loved this quiz because I was so sweet

bina @

I loved this quiz because I was so sweet

bina @

It is very important to differentiate Dark Chocolate from Regular Chocolate also called Milk Chocolate.
The benefit from chocolate comes from the cocoa (cacao) and the most pure or the more cocoa the chocolate content is the better the chocolate is.
The best concentration is 80 to 85%. This percentage means how much cocoa the chocolate has, the more the better.
So why not go for 90 or 100%? the answer is, at this higher concentrations you sacrifice most of the flavor for no more benefit.
There are many brands that their labels read : "Dark Chocolate" but upon reading the nutrition facts you realize is nothing other than milk chocolate with a slight more cocoa and they do not list the percentage.
You have to be careful out there but yes, Dark Chocolate with a percentage higher than 70 is good for you health, the best benefit comes from 80-85% concentration and beware of impostor milk chocolate or worse; white chocolate.

Oscar M Aguilar, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, FAHA, CWP

Oscar @

Wonder if it offsets the half gallon of vit D milk I drink with a giant hunk of cold Baker's Choc? Mmmm!

Ed @

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