Study links chocolate to reduced risk of common heart condition

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A new study from Harvard University suggests that eating two to six bars of chocolate a week could reduce your risk of a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation.

The research based on a sample of more than 50,000 people aged between 50 and 64 found that men eating between two and six portions of chocolate a week had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation, compared with those who avoid chocolate. The research also showed that women eating just one portion of chocolate a week had a 21 per cent lower risk.

Affecting about two per cent of the population, atrial fibrillation, also known as heart flutter, doubles the risk of dying from cardiac conditions such as stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Previous studies that have suggested health benefits from chocolate have focused solely on dark chocolate, while this new research did not ask the participant which type of chocolate they ate.

“Despite the fact that most of the chocolate consumed in our sample probably contained relatively low concentrations of the potentially protective ingredients, we still observed a robust statistically significant association,” the researchers said.


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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 16
  1. 0

    The first paragraph says bars of chocolate and the rest says portions.
    There’s a big difference?
    What size is the bar and what is a portion?
    Journalists should get their facts straight if they are to remain credible!

    • 0

      Thankfully The Telegraph UK indicates a portion is 30g, which is a small chocolate bar. Thankfully it suggests men need to eat between 2 and 6 of these a week.

    • 0

      And poor research not to ask participants what type of chocolate they ate. White “chocolate” is not chocolate, just fat and sugar, and milk chocolate is not much better. Unfortunately the very dark chocolate which has the health benefits is often rather bitter/strong, but this with rum and raisins in it? Yum! (But I’ve never found it – Cadbury’s rum and raisin sadly doesn’t cut it). The Mexicans use pure chocolate with no sugar in it as a savory.
      Chocolate Shows Its Savory Side In 8 Delectable Dinner Recipes …
      “Chocolate, it’s not just for dessert anymore. Particularly now that we know it’s actually healthy for us. In these recipes, dark chocolate shows off its savory side …”

  2. 0

    I am a chocoholic (dark) and drink Hot Chocolate instead of coffee or tea, but recently suffered Atrial Fibrillation! I also wondered about the use of the words ‘bars’ and ‘portions’

  3. 0

    Yay! Must keep this for future reference!!….along with the glass of wine and cheese.
    I had a friend who pointed out that we only have a finite number of heart beats in one life time – use them well.

  4. 0

    PS Do Mexicans have less incidence of AF?

  5. 0

    When I eat chocolate it has to be DARK with 85% cocoa & I buy it at Aldi.

  6. 0

    I commented on chocolate on 28th March last year in another YLC article on it — see .

  7. Profile Photo

    I thought that it was dark chocolate that we are meant to eat? Are these credible researchers?

  8. 0

    Looks like Harvard has just become eligible for some big research grants from chocolate makers.

  9. 0

    This type of research never considers other factors like how much exercise or what other types of food are they eating, how many calories do they consume, what is their stress levels etc. It all plays a part in your heart health. Eating more green leafy veg is far more beneficial.

  10. 0

    a simple fact, yet the comments make a mountain out of it, typical to-day’s reasoning

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