Do you know someone that does not like chocolate? If you really enjoy chocolate, you may well be concerned about limiting what you eat to very dark products, normally with 75% or more percentage of cocoa. But it seems that what tends to make that chocolate the healthiest, has less to do with the amount of cocoa, and more to do with how it is processed.
Much of the cocoa on the market undergoes a procedure called “Dutch-processing”, or “alkalization”, to make it darker, less bitter, and more easily dissolved in beverages. Trouble is, this 200-year old process destroys much of the healthy antioxidants in cocoa, called flavanols, leading researchers to push for labeling chocolate products with flavanol levels instead of cocoa content.
The good news is, some major studies indicating chocolate’s beneficial effect on heart health did not distinguish between dark chocolate or milk chocolate products. Last August, a major meta-analysis of seven studies, involving more than 114,000 people, revealed that the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke were all diminished by eating chocolate – of any kind – more than twice a week. The greater point of concern is to keep your portions small, to minimize the chance of gaining weight.
So, there is no strong reason for eating chocolate to reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke, if eating large amounts of it tends to make you gain weight, which raises your risk of heart attack and stroke!