This is How Chocolate Consumption Prevents Diabetes
Growing up, we were told too much chocolate could lead to bad teeth and weight gain. Despite mom’s warning, we’d sneak a few Hershey’s Kisses from our back pocket for the decadent taste of cocoa. Now, researchers at the University of South Australia and University of Maine suggest eating chocolate weekly could help prevent debilitating conditions like diabetes.
In the recent study, published in the journal Appetite, Georgina Crochton, lead author and a nutritionist and psychologist from the University of South Australia, wrote that eating chocolate at least once a week may lower the prevalence of diabetes, with eaters facing a lower risk for diabetes four to five years later. However, cause and effect relationships between eating chocolate and a lower risk for diabetes haven’t been established.
To investigate the relationship between regularly eating chocolate and diabetes, the researchers observed over 900 community-dwelling nondiabetic and 45 diabetic participants, mostly women, with an average age of 62 from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS). Chocolate consumption was measured using a food questionnaire, but specific quantities of chocolate eaten were not measured. They also examined the relation between diabetes and chocolate consumption up to 30 years later.
The findings revealed people who ate chocolate less than once a week were at twice the risk of diabetes compared to those who ate chocolate more than once a week. However, eating chocolate more than once a week did not further decrease risk. Investigators concluded a link can’t be ruled out: modest amounts of chocolate likely protect against diabetes, but some diabetic individuals choose to eat modest amounts of chocolate.
“… consuming chocolate at least once a week very much appears to be a win-win with regard to health benefits and cognitive performance for those who do not have special health restrictions on chocolate,” said Merrill “Pete” Elias, a psychology researcher from the University of Maine, in a statement.
Previous research conducted by Brown University found daily consumption of dark chocolate improves cardiovascular health and prevents diabetes. The cocoa flavanols affect cardiovascular health, and provide protection against diabetes and heart disease in the future. Consuming 200 and 600 milligrams of flavanols per day yielded the best results in the study. Those who ate flavanol in the optimal range showed significant decline in blood sugar and insulin levels.