Consuming too much chocolate could lead to weight gain and obesity, but if taken in small quantities can be beneficial. Eating small amounts of chocolates every day may lower the chance of heart diseases and diabetes.
A new study conducted by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), University of Warwick Medical School, University of Maine, and University of Australia also found that consuming small quantities of chocolates daily may be beneficial in insulin resistance.
The researchers initially thought that eating chocolates has positive effects on liver enzymes and insulin sensitivity, so they peeked into a national survey where the participants completed a food frequency questionnaire.
The researchers analyzed the data from the study made by the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg or ORISCAV-LUX study where 1,153 individuals aged 18 to 69 years participated. They also took note of the participants' lifestyle and dietary routine, including their consumption of coffee and tea.
Coffee and tea have the same polyphenol content as chocolates, which is beneficial in terms of cardiometabolism.
They found out that people who ate 100 grams (0.22 pound) of chocolate or a bar of chocolate per day displayed a reduced insulin resistance and enhanced liver enzymes. Among the participants, 80 percent reported to eat an average of 24.8 grams (0.05 pound) of chocolate every day.
The study also found that those who eat chocolates are younger and more physically active and have better education.
"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," said Saverio Stranges, a visiting academic at the University of Warwick Medical School in Coventry, England. Stranges is also the director of the Department of Population Health of LIH.
He added that the findings of the study could be recommended for healthcare providers and medical professionals to encourage people to eat different foods rich in phytochemicals including dark chocolates.
However, Stranges warned that individuals must know how to differentiate natural cocoa-based products from processed ones. Physical activity, diet, and lifestyle must always be taken into consideration to balance the detrimental effects of chocolate on weight.
The authors noted that the study needs further research and observational studies to better understand the role of chocolates in cardiometabolic diseases and insulin resistance.
The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
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