Milk Chocolate Also Benefits Heart Health
High-cacao dark chocolate contains high levels of flavanol, a compound known for its heart health benefits, but less is known about diluted foods such as milk chocolate candy. Harvard researchers followed 55,502 subjects for 13 years, comparing levels of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to lifestyle traits. They found those eating one to three servings of chocolate a month (including milk chocolate) displayed a 10 percent lower risk of irregular heartbeat than those eating an ounce or less a month. Eating one serving per week of chocolate yielded a 17 percent lower risk and two to six servings a week 20 percent, and then leveled off after eating one or more servings per day.
“Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended, because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat, and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems,” advises Elizabeth Mostofsky, author of the study.