Haven’t we all wished at one time or another that junk food could be good for us? What if the food pyramid counseled people to eat several servings of chips and cookies each day? While it’s not likely that will ever happen, there is good news for lovers of dark chocolate. A new study done by researchers at San Diego State University indicates “Dark chocolate may lower your risk of heart disease by lowering levels of blood glucose and bad cholesterol while boosting levels of good cholesterol.” And it’s all because of a few little compounds known as flavanols and phenols.
The secret ingredients
Flavanols are a component of dark chocolate, which, according to research studies, “have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Previous research has [also] shown a link between flavanol intake and risk for cardiovascular disease.” Phenols come from the cocoa plant and are also known to lower blood pressure.
Results of the research study
The study at San Diego State University involved having people eat either 50 grams of dark chocolate or 50 grams of white chocolate every day for fifteen days. At the end of 15 days, “the tests revealed that those who ate dark chocolate had lower levels of blood glucose and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and higher levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol than those who ate white chocolate.”
While the benefits are real and palpable, this is no excuse to start eating five bars of dark chocolate a day. Dark chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat. In order to incorporate it effectively into your diet, you need to lower your overall caloric intake.