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10 Health Benefits of Chocolate, Per Various Studies. How Great is This??!!
keywords: chocolate
Section:  General Diabetes

Hi All,

I had blogged this already under a different topic about Chocolate for Weight Loss, but the info is imbedded in this other blog and is not obvious under this topic title.  As this info is so great, wanted it to stand alone as a seperate NEW blog topic!


An article in the Huffington Post summarized the "10 Health Benefits Of Chocolate" :


10 benefits of chocolate, per this Post article, are:

1) Lowers risk of stroke.  A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.


2)  Boosts heart health. This is due to chocolate shown to: lower BP, lower LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease, due to its inflammation-fighting properties (especially dark chocolate) which reduce cardiovascular risk.

3) The benefit that started this blog:  Helps you eat less.  Because it's rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you'll eat less, Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and HuffPost blogger. 

4) Reduces risk of diabetes. A small Italian study from 2005 found that regularly eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing risk for diabetes

5) Can protect skin. Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. The type of antioxidants called flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage from the sun. 

6)  Can quiet coughs. An ingredient in chocolate called theobromine seems to reduce activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that triggers hard-to-shake coughs. In late 2010, the BBC reported that scientists were investigating creating a drug containing theobromine to preplace cough syrups containing codeine, which can have risky side effects. 

7)  Can boost mood. Indulging every once in a while feels great. So chocolate eaters report feeling less stressed

8)  Improves blood flow. Cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin, which can improve blood flow and circulation. 

9) Improves vision.  Because of chocolate's ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, researchers at the University of Reading hypothesized in a small 2011 study that chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina, thereby giving vision a boost.

10)  It makes you smarter.  That boost of blood flow to the brain created by cocoa's flavanols seems to make people feel more awake and alert, and, in a small British study, perform better on counting tasks.


Mary Ann Hodorowicz, RD, CDE, MBA, Certified Endocrinology Coder
PresentDiabetes Author of MNT and DSMT Reimbursement Audio Lectures

Eat Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Re: 10 Health Benefits of Chocolate, Per Various Studies. How Great is This??!!

I eat a little bit of dark chocolate every day.  It is about 7 grams, two small squares. I don't believe more will result in any health benefits. I just like it.  That amount won't raise my glucose.

Re: 10 Health Benefits of Chocolate, Per Various Studies. How Great is This??!!

I love your comments Linda! You eat a small amount of dark chocolate because you enjoy it, and it fits in your blood glucose management. I think we often forget that taste and enjoyment of food is an important and essential component of everyone's diet. I'm all for healthy food, but I want that food to taste good!

Re: 10 Health Benefits of Chocolate, Per Various Studies. How Great is This??!!

Oh, Mary Ann! I adore chocolate and my body thanks you for finding this article. I find that the Chocoperfection bar to be my favorite form of this indulgence because one square of the dark chocolate is so rich it's all I need. If I ate the whole thing (Perish the thought!), it would be under 200 calories, 16 grams of carbs, 14 grams fiber, (2 Net Carbs)and 1 gram protein. The saturated fat is stearate found in cocoa butter, which I hear is a good fat. Found at http://www26.netrition.com/lc_specialties_choco_bars.html#NUTFACTS 0ChocoPerfectionBars



If it isn't in my pantry, there is a dark chocolate covered almond found in the Krogers Brachs candy kiosk with 17 carbs per ounce, and the fiber and fat of almonds I hear are good for you.

mmm think I'll make a visit there RIGHT NOW!!!0chocalmonds

Re: 10 Health Benefits of Chocolate, Per Various Studies. How Great is This??!!

Thanks for posting the link to your favorite chocolate bar, Bonnie. I haven't heard of these, and was interested to read about their sweeteners:  oligofructose and erythitol. Erythitol is a polyol, or sugar alcohol, that has less effect on blood glucose levels than sugar or starch. According to http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/sugar-alcohols.html:

If a food has more than 5 grams of sugar alcohols:

  • Subtract ½ the grams of sugar alcohol from the amount of total carbohydrate
  • Count the remaining grams of carbohydrate in your meal plan

There's an interesting article from 2002 on oligofructose:  http://www.ias.ac.in/jbiosci/dec2002/703.pdf

According to the abstract:

Inulin and oligofructose belong to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans. The main sources of inulin and oligofructose that are used in the food industry are chicory and Jerusalem artichoke. Inulin and oligofructose are considered as functional food ingredients since they affect the physiological and biochemical processes in rats and human beings, resulting in better health and reduction in the risk of many diseases. Experimental studies have shown their use as bifidogenic agents, stimulating the immune system of the body, decreasing the pathogenic bacteria in the intestine, relieving constipation, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis by increasing mineral absorption, especially of calcium, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis by lowering the synthesis of triglycerides and fatty acids in the liver and decreasing their level in serum. These fructans modulate the hormonal level of insulin and glucagon, thereby regulating carbohydrate and lipid metabolism by lowering the blood glucose levels; they are also effective in lowering the blood urea and uric acid levels, thereby maintaining the nitrogen balance. Inulin and oligofructose also reduce the incidence of colon cancer. The biochemical basis of these beneficial effects of inulin and oligofructose have been discussed. Oligofructose are non cariogenic as they are not used by Streptococcus mutans to form acids and insoluble glucans that are the main culprits in dental caries. Because of the large number of health promoting functions of inulin and oligofructose, these have wide applications in various types of foods like confectionery, fruit preparations, milk desserts, yogurt and fresh cheese, baked goods, chocolate, ice cream and sauces. Inulin can also be used for the preparation of fructose syrups.

Personally, I don't tolerate polyols or inulin - both cause gas and bloating in even very small quanitities. Does anyone else have any experience with foods that contain oligofructose?

Re: 10 Health Benefits of Chocolate, Per Various Studies. How Great is This??!!

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Maryann. This is a quality of life topic for many of our patients.Chocolate brings a lot of pleasure to many many people...now we have proof that it is good for you for other reasons as well.


As we all have said many mnay times to our patients and on this blog....moderation is the key!!! That is what individualization of diet advice for glycemic control is all about for sure!!!