MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: In conclusion, the results of the present study showed that a higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower levels of central and total fatness in European adolescents. Of note is that the observed association was independent of total energy intake and saturated fat intake as well as objectively measured physical activity. In addition, results remained unchanged after adjusting for foods with high catechins concentration as fruit, vegetables and tea; as well as other products such as coffee that could influence the observed association between chocolate consumption and markers of total and central body fat.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: Many studies have shown that chocolate consumption in adults is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (mainly due to the catechins a type of flavonoids). The catechins may promote health due to their antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-atherogenic, anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as due to its influence of insulin sensitivity, vascular endothelial function, and activation of nitric oxide . In addition, to our surprise, a recent study reported that higher frequency of chocolate intake is linked to lower Body mass index in adults. This effect could be in part due to its influence on insulin sensitivity as well on cortisol production. Thus, we decided to observe this in adolescents. First, this results were surprising because chocolate has been traditionally considered as unhealthy food , having abundance high content in sugar and saturated fat. But not after to study the many health benefits of some components of chocolate.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: Our findings should be taken however with caution due to the cross-sectional nature of this study, intervention studies confirming our results are needed. Authors recommend a moderate chocolate consumption.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Answer: One of the limitations of our study is that we could not assess the association between dark chocolate (with a higher flavonoids concentration) and fatness because information about type of chocolate was not available. In a future work we want to observed if milk chocolate is as healthy such as dark chocolate and the interaction between sugar content (the worst in the chocolate) and flavonoids (the best in the chocolate).
Association between chocolate consumption and fatness in European adolescents
Magdalena Cuenca-García, Jonatan R. Ruiz, Francisco B. Ortega, Manuel J. Castillo, HELENA study group
Nutrition – 21 October 2013 (10.1016/j.nut.2013.07.011)