News - October 2010

Dark chocolate is good for diabetics, study finds

18 October 2010

A group of researchers from the University of Hull and the Hull York Medical School have found that dark chocolate has significant health benefits for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Steve AtkinAccording to the study published today in Diabetic Medicine, HDL (high density lipoprotein) or ‘good’ cholesterol is improved and overall cholesterol balance is enhanced when patients consume 45g of dark chocolate each day.

This is the first study to report on the effects of giving chocolate to individuals with Type 2 diabetes over a period of 16 weeks. The patients were given chocolate either with or without a high cocoa content. The dark chocolate contained 85% cocoa solids compared to the placebo which contained no cocoa solids but was dyed the same colour as the dark chocolate. Individual 15g foil wrapped bars were provided and the volunteers were asked to consume one bar three times a day. The patients were advised not to consume any other chocolate for the duration of the study and they were instructed to make no changes to their diet and lifestyle.

Dietary recall suggested that dark chocolate tended to replace other snack foods and there was therefore a reduction of food-based guilt.

Steve Atkin, Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology, who led the study says: “People with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease and since one of the main contributory factors to heart disease is a low level of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, the findings that dark chocolate can improve this, means the results of this study are hugely significant.”

He continues: “Chocolate with a high cocoa content should be included in the diet of individuals with Type 2 diabetes as part of a sensible, balanced approach to diet and lifestyle. This study demonstrates that it can offer a potential reduction in cardiovascular risk without detrimental risks on weight, insulin resistance or glycaemic control.”

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