August 17, 2010
Chocolate Cuts Heart Failure Risk?
Better safe than sorry. Yet another chocolate against heart failure report.
DALLAS, Aug. 17, 2010 Ė Middle-aged and elderly Swedish women who regularly ate a small amount of chocolate had lower risks of heart failure risks, in a study reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association.
The nine-year study, conducted among 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women, looked at the relationship of the amount of high-quality chocolate the women ate, compared to their risk for heart failure. The quality of chocolate consumed by the women had a higher density cocoa content somewhat like dark chocolate by American standards. In this study, researchers found:
- Women who ate an average of one to two servings of the high-quality chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure.
- Those who had one to three servings per month had a 26 percent lower risk.
- Those who consumed at least one serving daily or more didnít appear to benefit from a protective effect against heart failure.
The lack of a protective effect among women eating chocolate every day is probably due to the additional calories gained from eating chocolate instead of more nutritious foods, said Murrray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., lead researcher of the study.
Sadly the research suggests that you need only to eat it twice or three times a week and NO MORE in order for it to have an effect. However the work was carried out with what they may describe as high-quality chocolate but it seems to have been 32% milk chocolate which is really rather fatty and low in chocolate. I have no idea what the deal would be with "proper" chocolate (70%+ and dark) - I'll keep on eating the dark stuff though.
Given the strange benefit/consumption ratio, I would bet that the results are due to undetected correlations of chocolate consumption with other dietary or life style factors. I skimmed the paper at URL:
"Chocolate Intake and Incidence of Heart Failure: A Population-Based,
Prospective Study of Middle-Aged and Elderly Women"
It does look like the authors tried to excluded confounding factors, so I hope the result stands up.
What's the point of living longer if every moment is filled with worry about living longer?
I'm providing you with a great reason to eat chocolate and you going negative.
The darker chocolate has more flavonoids.
I eat a little dark chocolate every day. In fact, since that's all the chocolate I eat, it no longer tastes bitter.
My previous point was that, in visiting various web sites, I find many people who seem to be obsessed with prolonging their lives, without living in the present. Make sense?
"The lack of a protective effect among women eating chocolate every day is probably due to the additional calories gained from eating chocolate instead of more nutritious foods, said Murrray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., lead researcher of the study"
What kind of bias is this? As a trained scientist did he have no way to figure out if excess weight was really a factor or not? Could a statistician show him how to possibly account for this?
I would suggest that the fact that a daily dosage showed poor effect (compared to weekly) suggests that the loss of benefit comes from a saturation in the system; a relatively common physiologic feedback phenomenon.
The paper indicates that BMI effects were controlled for.
At the upper levels of consumption, heart failure rates rose (but not statistically significantly) with consumption. Since chocolate is (allegedly) used as a natural "comfort food" anti-depressant, it might be that depression is the real cause of increased heart failure. See, for example,
"Depression raises heart failure risks: study"