Regular consumption of moderate portions of chocolate may reduce the risk of diabetes, according to recent research
published by James Greenberg from the City University of New York in the journal Clinical Nutrition
The study followed the chocolate intake of 7,802 participants in the prospective Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Cohort for more than 13 years, during which time 861 participants were diagnosed with the illness. The results indicate that those who consumed one 30 g portion of chocolate between 2 and 6 times a week were 34% less likely to contract diabetes than those who ate less than one portion of chocolate a month. Those who ate chocolate between 1-4 times a month had less reduction in risk (13%), but interestingly, participants who ate one portion a day (or more) still had an 18% reduction in their risk of contracting diabetes.
The reason is thought to be due to the flavanols present in chocolate, which have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in humans and glucose metabolism in animal studies. Flavanols are present at high levels in cocoa-containing products, particularly dark chocolate, and have also previously been shown to lower cardiovascular risk.