Researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Health, the University of Warwick Medical School, the University of South Australia and the University of Maine studied data from 1,153 people aged 18-69 – all participants in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study.
Those who ate 100g of chocolate a day – equivalent to a bar – were found to have reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzymes.
Those who claimed to eat chocolate were also found to be younger, more physically active and had higher levels of education than those who claimed not to eat chocolate on a daily basis.
Prof Saverio Stranges, Visiting Academic at the University of Warwick Medical School and Scientific Director of the Department of Population Health at LIH said: “Given the growing body of evidence, including our own study, cocoa-based products may represent an additional dietary recommendation to improve cardio-metabolic health; however, observational results need to be supported by robust trial evidence.
“Potential applications of this knowledge include recommendations by healthcare professionals to encourage individuals to consume a wide range of phytochemical-rich foods, which can include dark chocolate in moderate amounts. However, it is important to differentiate between the natural product cocoa and the processed product chocolate, which is an energy-dense food. Therefore, physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors must be carefully balanced to avoid detrimental weight gain over time.”
Dr Ala’a Alkerwi, Principal Investigator of the study at LIH said: “It is also possible that chocolate consumption may represent an overall marker for a cluster of favourable socio-demographic profiles, healthier lifestyle behaviours and better health status. This could explain, at least in part, the observed inverse associations with insulin and liver biomarkers.”