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ESC: Evidence Shows Chocolate Consumption Tied to CVD Risk

Last Updated: August 29, 2011.

There is a beneficial association between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders, with the highest levels of chocolate consumption tied to a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, according to a review published online Aug. 29 in the BMJ, coinciding with presentation at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, held Aug. 27 to 31 in Paris, France.

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- There is a beneficial association between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders, with the highest levels of chocolate consumption tied to a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, according to a review published online Aug. 29 in the BMJ, coinciding with presentation at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, held Aug. 27 to 31 in Paris, France.

Adriana Buitrago-Lopez, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed available literature to evaluate the correlation between chocolate consumption and the risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders. Out of 4,576 references, seven studies - six cohort studies and one cross-sectional study (including 114,009 participants) - met the inclusion criteria. Cardiometabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke), diabetes, and metabolic syndrome were the primary outcome. The risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders was assessed by meta-analysis, by comparing the highest and lowest level of chocolate consumption.

The investigators found considerable disparity between the seven studies for measurement of chocolate consumption, methods, and outcomes evaluated. A beneficial association was reported between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders in five out of the seven studies. Compared with the lowest levels of chocolate consumption, the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke.

"Although over-consumption can have harmful effects, the existing studies generally agree on a potential beneficial association of chocolate consumption with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders," the authors write. "Higher levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a one-third reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease."

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