Polyphenols in dark chocolate protect against metabolic syndrome
04/02/2018 // Janine Acero // Views

Consumption of dark chocolate has been associated with the reduction in several markers of cardiometabolic risk. The following study, which was published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism, aimed to examine the association of dark chocolate consumption with levels of anxiety, particularly the presence of metabolic syndrome (MetS).

  • During 2001-2002, the study involved 1,514 men and 1,528 women above 18 years old, without any clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease or any other chronic disease, at baseline, and living in greater Athens area, Greece.
  • The researchers performed a 10-year follow-up in 2011-2012, involving 2,583 participants (75 percent retention).
  • The team calculated the participants' dark chocolate intake using validated food frequency questionnaires (FFQs), while they assessed their anxiety levels with the Spielberg Anxiety Questionnaire.
  • Data analysis showed that individuals with MetS reported significantly higher anxiety levels than those without MetS.
  • Among subjects with lower levels of anxiety, every 25-mg increase in their daily intake of dark chocolate polyphenols reduced the chances of MetS risk by five percent, after adjustment for gender, age, and physical activity levels.
  • However, the researchers found no such association in participants with higher levels of anxiety.

The research team concluded that the daily consumption of dark chocolate could have a favorable effect on the development of MetS in individuals with low levels of anxiety and chronic stress. The team noted that the moderating effect of stress levels in chocolate intake warrants further investigation.

Journal Reference:

Georgousopoulou E, Mellor D, Naumovski N, Panagiotakos D, Chrysohoou C, Skourlis N, Tousoulis D, Stefanadis C, Pitsavos C. ANXIETY LEVELS MODERATE THE PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF DARK CHOCOLATE POLYPHENOL INTAKE AGAINST METABOLIC SYNDROME: THE ATTICA STUDY. Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism. June 2017;8:97. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnim.2017.04.139

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