August 12, 2015
1 min read

Chocolate intake not linked to AF incidence

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Chocolate consumption did not appear to influence the risk for atrial fibrillation in a large cohort of male physicians in the United States, according to recent study findings.

Previous studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect from chocolate consumption on risk factors for AF, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, CHD and HF. However, there had yet to be a prospective study evaluating the potential link between chocolate consumption and incident AF, the researchers wrote.

Owais Khawaja, MD, MPH, from the department of cardiology at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio, and colleagues evaluated data from 18,819 men (mean age, 66 ± 9.1 years) enrolled in the Physicians’ Health Study. Average frequency of chocolate consumption was self-reported using a food frequency questionnaire administered between 1999 and 2002, with annual follow-up for AF conducted until the first incident of AF, death or last available data.

During a mean follow-up of 9 years, 2,092 cases of AF were reported. Compared with participants who reported consuming 1 oz of chocolate less than once per month, the researchers observed no significant differences between participants who reported the following rates of chocolate intake, after adjustment for confounders:

  • 1 oz chocolate consumed one to three times per month (adjusted HR = 1.04; 95% CI, 0.93-1.18);
  • 1 oz chocolate consumed once per week (adjusted HR = 1.1; 95% CI, 0.96-1.25);
  • 1 oz chocolate consumed two to four times per week (adjusted HR = 1.14; 95% CI, 0.99-1.31); and
  • 1 oz chocolate consumed five times per week or more (adjusted HR = 1.05; 95% CI, 0.89-1.25; P = .25 for trend).

Results from a secondary analysis indicated that neither adiposity (P = .71) nor age (P = .26) had an effect on the relationship between chocolate consumption and the occurrence of AF.

“Our data showed no significant association between chocolate consumption and incident AF,” the researchers concluded.

However, while acknowledging the large sample size and long follow-up duration as strengths of the analysis, they also noted that the self-reported data on chocolate consumption could have resulted in biased results, and that the data did not include the amount or type of chocolate consumed. – by Stephanie Viguers

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.