Eating less than 100 g per week of chocolate appears to reduce risk for CVD, according to a meta-analysis published in Heart.
“Chocolate consumption may be associated with reduced risk of CVD at < 100 g/week consumption. Higher levels may negate the health benefits and induce adverse effects associated with high sugar consumption,” Yongcheng Ren, PhD, from the Affiliated Luohu Hospital of Shenzhen University Health Science Center in China, and colleagues wrote.
Ren and colleagues aimed to perform a quantitative assessment of the dose-response association between consumption of chocolate and incident CVD. They conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 23 studies that included 405,304 participants and 35,093 cases of CVD and used restricted cubic splines to model a dose-response association.
The RR for incident CVD per 20 g per week increase of chocolate consumption was 0.982 (95% CI, 0.972-0.992; I2 = 50.4%), the researchers found.
A 20 g per week rise in chocolate consumption was also associated with significant RRs for the following conditions:
- total stroke: RR = 0.956; 95% CI, 0.932-0.98; I2 = 25.5%;
- cerebral infarction: RR = 0.952; 95% CI, 0.917-0.988; I2 = 0%;
- hemorrhagic stroke: RR = 0.931; 95% CI, 0.871-0.994; I2 = 0%;
- MI: RR = 0.981; 95% CI, 0.964-0.997; I2 = 0%; and
- CHD: RR = 0.986; 95% CI, 0.973-0.999; only one study was found.
There was no significance for HF (RR = 0.995; 95% CI, 0.981-1.01; I2 = 36.3%).
Ren and colleagues determined that there was a nonlinear dose response (P for nonlinearity = .001) showing the ideal amount of chocolate consumption for CVD risk reduction was 45 g per week (RR = 0.89; 95% CI, 0.849-0.932).
“We identified that the protective effect for CVD is lost when chocolate intake exceeds 100 g/week (two chocolate snack bars per week),” Ren and colleagues wrote. “These quantitative data are expected to have an unprecedented effect on guiding chocolate intake as a protective measure against risk of CVD.” – by Erik Swain
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.