Even Milk Chocolate Is Good For You, According To New Study

Chocolate is good for your heart — sort of, maybe.

Eating up to 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of chocolate daily is linked with lowered risks of heart disease and stroke, scientists reported today (June 15) in the journal Heart. That amount of chocolate is equal to about 22 Hershey’s Kisses, two Hershey bars or two bags of M&M’s, depending on how you want to divvy up this good news.

“There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk,” the researchers concluded in their paper. Their new study is based on a meta-analysis of eight previously published studies involving a total of nearly 158,000 people.

One key finding was that people who ate chocolate regularly had up to an 11 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 23 percent lower risk of having a stroke, compared with nonchocolate eaters. (Yes, remarkably, they exist.)

However, the analysis comes with more caveats than Almond Joy has nuts. For example, exactly what it is about chocolate that might impart health benefits is not clear. The scientists could not determine a cause-and-effect relationship between the two, and the observed benefits might be nothing more than a mirage, a limitation of the study design. [5 Wacky Things That Are Good for Your Health]

“There is, of course, a theoretical plausible explanation of why eating chocolate in moderation may expose some [people] to compounds — for example, flavonols — which are potentially good for risk reduction through cholesterol- and blood-pressure-lowering effects,” said Dr. Phyo Myint, a senior author of the study and a professor at the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry in Scotland.

Myint cited numerous studies demonstrating that flavonols — which are found in many plant-based foods, —> Read More