Moderate chocolate consumption in Swedish men is associated with a lower rate of HF hospitalization or death, but consumption of at least one serving per day conferred a higher rate of HF, new data show.
“Multiple studies have demonstrated that consumption of chocolate reduces systolic and diastolic [BP] after acute and chronic intake,” Daniel A. Steinhaus, MD, from the cardiovascular division of the department of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and colleagues wrote. “In addition, observational studies have shown that habitual chocolate intake is associated with lower incidence of stroke and MI, lower incidence of mortality from [CHD], lower cardiac mortality and HF after incident MI and improved vascular function in patients with HF.”
Steinhaus and colleagues used the population-based Cohort of Swedish Men study to analyze chocolate intake and HF hospitalization and death data in 31,917 men aged 45 to 79 years.
Participants had no history of MI, diabetes or HF at baseline and were followed up from 1998 to 2011.
Chocolate intake was stratified into five categories: no regular intake, one to three servings per month, one to two servings per week, three to six servings per week and at least one serving per day.
During follow-up, 1,901 men were hospitalized and 256 died from HF. According to the researchers, compared with participants who reported no regular chocolate intake, the RR of HF was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.78-0.99) for those consuming one to three servings per month, 0.83 (95% CI, 0.72-0.94) for those consuming one to two servings per week and 0.82 (95% CI, 0.68-0.99) for those consuming three to six servings per week.
Participants who consumed at least one serving of chocolate per day were more likely to have HF compared with those reporting no regular chocolate intake (RR = 1.1; 95% CI, 0.84-1.45; P for quadratic trend = .001), Steinhaus and colleagues wrote.
“As we were not able to assess the exact consumption of cocoa flavonoids, it is unclear if a more linear relationship exists between flavonoids and HF,” the researchers wrote. “Future studies are needed to determine the optimal dose of chocolate and/or cocoa flavonoids, and determine the underlying mechanisms.” – by Cassie Homer
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.