Is chocolate good for the heart?
It has been shown before, by clinical trials and a meta-analysis, that chocolate consumption may have favorable CV effects . However, whether increased chocolate consumption reduces risk of CAD was unknown. The meta-analysis by Krittanawong and colleagues (2020) evaluated the association between chocolate consumption and CAD by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis . Keywords for the systematic review included chocolate, cocoa, chocolate consumption, cocoa consumption, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular events, CAD, acute myocardial infarct, and acute coronary syndrome. Extracted studies were from 1966 to January 2020. Included study designs were prospective or cross-sectional, and outcome was combined CAD (acute myocardial infarct and acute coronary syndrome). Six prospective studies (n=336289) were identified with a median follow-up of 8.78 years. Compared with no consumption or <1 time per week, higher chocolate consumption (>1 time per week or >3.5 times per month) was associated with a decreased risk of CAD (pooled RR 0.92, 95%CI 0.86–0.99, P <0.001; I2=48.6%). Additional sensitivity analyses of included studies found that results remained the same. With the possible beneficial effects of flavanols, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid in chocolate on CV risk, the authors conclude that chocolate consumption at least once a week may reduce CAD risk. However, the unfavorable effects of supplemental calories (e.g. fats, milk, or sugar) from chocolate products commercially available need to be taken into account.