Nutritionists had been wrong about dark chocolate’s Benefits
Nutritionists have long said that dark chocolate’s benefits all boils down to the presence of the compound flavanol, a group under the flavonoid family. But new research is challenging this idea, saying that flavanol may not be responsible for the health boost.
Researchers by Dutch groups Top Institute Food and Nutrition and the Division of Human Nutrition at Wageningen University discovered that flavanol isn’t what’s giving dark chocolate eaters a healthier heart. Instead, they found out that dark chocolate lowers the risk of atherosclerosis — a condition that stiffens and thickens the arteries.
To reach their conclusion, the doctors asked 44 overweight men aged 45–70 to eat two types of dark chocolate over two months. The first type was dark chocolate with high flavanol content while the second was regular dark chocolate. Both chocolates had the same cocoa content.
They found out that both groups registered the same vascular health measurements. This means that, whether or not the dark chocolate has high flavanol content, the eater will still receive the same heart benefits.
The findings are challenging previous research that pointed to flavanol as the source of the health boost in dark chocolates. Researcher Professor Diederik Esser said ‘increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health. However, this increased flavanol content clearly affected taste and thereby the motivation to eat these chocolates.’
Editor-in-chief Dr Gerald Weissman of The FASEB Journal, where the study was published, said the findings could lead to the development of treatments that would provide and improve on the health benefits of dark chocolate.