The next time you bite into your favorite bar of dark chocolate, you may be lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes. A report just out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2015; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.092221) supports what many want to be true— chocolate, especially dark,
may be a healthy indulgence.

In analyzing data on 18,235 Physicians’ Health Study subjects who were free of type 2 diabetes mellitus at baseline (1997-2001), researchers found an inverse relationship between chocolate intake and incident DM, especially for those without a history of cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association has already suggested that daily chocolate intake may lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar, and this is just one more study supporting that position.

Compared with those who ate no chocolate, study participants (average age 66 at the start of the 9.2-year timeframe) who consumed one to three servings per month had a 7% lower risk for diabetes. Of course, most chocolate lovers eat more than a few servings per month, right? One serving per
week was linked to a 14% reduced risk. The best news? Those who enjoyed two or more servings per week had a 17% risk reduction.

One variable of note—both age and body mass index modified the chocolate-DM relation. For those with a BMI under 25 who ate two or more servings of chocolate per week and were among the younger members in the study, the drop in diabetes risk was a whopping 41%.

One major caveat: Participants in this study were all men. It’s apparent that the trial needs to be replicated with women as chocolate-eating test subjects.

Alexandra Williams, MA

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

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