Eating chocolate at least once a week is associated with a lower risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), Chayakrit Krittanawong, M.D., from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues report in their review published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology after conducting a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the association between chocolate consumption and CAD.
The researchers identified six prospective studies with a median 8.78 years of follow-up (336,289 individuals). In the pooled population, there were 14,043 cases of CAD, 4,667 myocardial infarctions, 2,735 cerebrovascular accidents, and 332 cases of heart failure.
Higher chocolate consumption (more than once per week or >3.5 times per month) was associated with a decreased risk for CAD (pooled relative risk, 0.92) compared with the consumption of no or less than one time per week.
The meta-analysis had substantial heterogeneity due to adjusted variables in included studies and the definition of the highest and lowest intake of chocolate.
“Moderate amounts of chocolate seem to protect the coronary arteries but it’s likely that large quantities do not,” Krittanawong said in a statement.
“The calories, sugar, milk, and fat in commercially available products need to be considered, particularly in diabetics and obese people.”
REFERENCE: Krittanawong et al: Association between chocolate consumption and risk of coronary artery disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2047487320936787