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Not eating chocolate might be bad for you!

Jun 17, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
As much as 100 grams a day chocolate is just fine for our hearts. According to the online British journal Heart. (Wait a minute: This is the good old U.S. of A., and thanks to Jimmy Carter we don’t mess with goofy metric things like grams. What they are really saying is that you can eat up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate a day. That’s an equivalent weight to 40 nickels. A pretty generous portion. So, what’s the fine print? Maybe there isn’t any.

These findings are based on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which is tracking the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires.

The researchers also carried out a systematic review of the available international published evidence on the link between chocolate and cardiovascular disease involving nearly 160,000 people including the EPIC study group.

The surprising bottom line is that those who ate no chocolate (let’s call them “non-eaters”) were not as healthy as those who did (our “eaters”). Eaters have an 11 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25 percent lower risk of associated death. Eaters have a nine percent lower risk of a hospital admission as well.

The study authors conclude: “Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events. There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.”

But here’s the really sensational news: Milk chocolate, which is considered to be less “healthy” than dark chocolate, was more frequently eaten by the EPIC-Norfolk participants. It may hold the same beneficial health effects as the dark. Unfortunately, they both still contain lots of calories. That 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate probably carries about 500 calories along with it—depending on how it is presented.

--Sarah Hagerty
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