Fighting Diabetes with Dark Chocolate
If you love chocolate, then you will love new research claiming that daily chocolate intake could actually lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. The next time you visit your doctor, do not be so surprised if they replace your usual prescription of pills and capsules with a prescription for chocolate.
According to Professor Saverio Stranges from the University of Warwick Medical School, there is every reason to believe the claims that have been circulating around the medical arena for the last several years regarding the beneficial nature of chocolate.
Chocolate is a pretty popular treat that people have been encouraged to only consume on rare occasions. After all, considering its high fat and sugar content, chocolate is hardly the healthiest of snacks.
However, over the years, many studies have suggested that regular but moderate chocolate consumption could positively benefit human health.
Dark chocolate, in particular, has very high cocoa content. This translates into very high levels of oxidants such as flavonoids. These molecules are playing a crucial role in the prevention of cell damage of one form or another.
In the study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Professor Stranges and his colleagues analyzed 1,153 individuals between the ages of 18 and 69.
The participants, who were part of the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study, completed a food frequency questionnaire through which data on their chocolate intake was gathered. The purpose of the Stranges’ efforts was to investigate the connection between chocolate intake and insulin resistance, this along with determining how chocolate intake impacted liver enzyme levels.
Based on their analysis, the research team determined that an estimated 81% of all the participants in the study consumed chocolate. Those individuals who ate chocolate every day were found to have reduced insulin resistance as well as higher levels of liver enzymes, this as compared to those who did not consume chocolate regularly.
Even taking into account factors such as age, sex, and lifestyle, these findings remained largely unchanged. There was some concern that dietary factors like the intake of tea might skew the results. However, this wasn’t the case, with the consumption of foods like coffee that are rich in antioxidants only compounding upon the effects and benefits of dark chocolate, especially for cardiometabolic risk (which refers to the likelihood of an individual manifesting diabetes or heart disease).
Overall, the members of the study who ate chocolate were not only younger but more active. They were also more highly educated than their counterparts who did not eat chocolate.
The questions that Professor Stranges and his colleagues have been fielding have emerged from both medical and non-medical circles, wondering whether dark chocolate should be included in dietary recommendations.
Stranges believes that chocolate consumption can reduce the risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders, though he added that robust trial evidence was necessary to support the observations of his team.
More importantly, individuals have to understand the difference between chocolate with natural cocoa (which is beneficial to human health) and processed chocolate (which has a lot of calories and lacks health benefits).