Dark Chocolate And Cholesterol: The Ultimate Guide And What You Need To Know
The most comprehensive guide about dark chocolate, cacao, and your cholesterol is here! You will read about the effects of cacao’s powerful components and their impact on blood fats.;;
Dietary and healthy food recommendations are always changing. It’s hard to know what is right for your health and what isn’t. Chocolate and cholesterol are among the most controversial areas in nutrition.
Then the question is: is dark chocolate healthy for our cholesterol levels? This ultimate guide is the answer.
One of the most common questions we get as craft chocolate connoisseurs and me personally as a doctor is: Isn’t chocolate full of fat and sugar? Would it increase my cholesterol?
I’m an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in metabolic conditions, as well as a chocolate enthusiast for more than 10 years. I felt compelled to research and publish on this exciting topic.
This article is for those of you interested in preserving your health, primarily through real food. If you want to know how to keep your cholesterol levels on the healthy side and enjoy a bar of flavorful dark chocolate, then keep reading.
EPISODE 1 – WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?
So, what if dark chocolate can help you have a healthier cholesterol profile? As a result, it might help you avoid cardiovascular complications. In Episode 2 , we will explain a few scientific studies that show that delicious craft chocolate improves blood cholesterol levels.;
But what does dark chocolate have to do with all of this?;
In Moderation Dark Chocolate Is A Heart
When you think of heart-healthy foods, chocolate may not make your list right away. But this scrumptious treat dark chocolate in particular has been touted for many years to have health benefits. So is dark chocolate actually healthy?
Studies show that dark chocolate when it is not loaded with sugar and saturated fat is indeed a heart-healthy chocolate treat and more.
Dark chocolate is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Studies show it can help reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.
Eating chocolate is healthy when it is dark chocolate, says Poulina Uddin, MD, a cardiologist at Scripps Clinic. Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate regularly can benefit your health.
Moderation is key, Dr. Uddin continues. Dark chocolate, like other chocolates, is still high in calories and can lead to weight gain. But in small amounts it can fit into a well-balanced diet.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds including cocoa beans from which chocolate is processed. They help fight inflammation and protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are byproducts of natural biological processes in our body, such as breathing and breaking down food, or stem from an outside source, such as tobacco smoke, toxins or pollutants. They can damage cells, proteins and DNA, and help trigger diseases.
What do studies show?
The darker the dark chocolate, the better
For An Antioxidant Boost Break Off A Square Of Dark Chocolate
If youve dreamt of eating chocolate every day, now you have an excuse or eight.
Dark chocolate contains phytonutrients called;flavonoids,;which are plant chemicals that act as;antioxidants;and may play a role in cancer prevention, heart health, and weight loss, noted an;article published in December 2016 in the Journal of Nutritional Science. The cacao plant that chocolate is derived from also contains a compound called theobromine, which Toby Amidor, RD, a cookbook author and nutrition expert for the Food Network, says can help reduce inflammation;and potentially;lower blood pressure.
Cacao is packed with numerous antioxidants actually more than;green tea or red wine, she says. The darker you go, the more antioxidants youll get, but there needs to be a balance between eating palatable dark chocolate and getting the health benefits.
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Chocolate And Cholesterol References
Allen RR, Carson L, Kwik-Uribe C, Evans EM, Erdman JW Jr. Daily consumption of a dark chocolate containing flavanols and added sterol esters affects cardiovascular risk factors in a normotensive population with elevated cholesterol. J Nutr 138:725-31.
Bonanome A, Grundy S. Effect of dietary stearic acid on plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein levels. N Engl J Med 318:1244-8.
Grassi D, Necozione S, Lippi C, et al. Cocoa reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypertensives. Hypertension 46:398-405.
Kris-Etherton PM, Derr JA, Mustad VA, Seligson FH, Pearson TA Effects of a milk chocolate bar per day substituted for a high-carbohydrate snack in young men on an NCEP/AHA Step 1 Diet. Am J Clin Nutr 60:1037S-1042S.
Kris-Etherton PM, Mustad VA. Chocolate feeding studies: a novel approach for evaluating the plasma lipid effects of stearic acid. Am J Clin Nutr 60:1029S-1036S.
Tholstrup I, Marckmann P. Jespersen J, Sandstrom B. Fat high in stearic acid favorably affects blood lipids and factor VII coagulant activity in comparison with fats high in palmitic acid or high in myristic and lauric acids. Am J Clin Nutr 59:371-7.
Tholstrup I, Marckmann P. Jespersen J, Vessby B, Jail A, Sandstrom B. Effect on blood lipids, coagulation, and fibrinolysis of a fat high in myristic acid and a fat high in palmitic acid. Am J Clin Nutr 60:919-25.
What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance thats found in all cells of the body. Our bodies need cholesterol to make hormones that protect the body, vitamin D and bile salts that are necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Plus, the brain and nervous system depend on cholesterol for the creation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Our bodies make the cholesterol that we need, but we get cholesterol from our food too. If you have too much cholesterol, it starts to build up in your arteries and may lead to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries.
Eventually, high cholesterol levels may cause heart and blood flow problems, leading to dangerous blood clots and inflammation that can cause heart attacks and strokes.;High cholesterol levels alone do not determine if you are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Other factors include your blood pressure, whether or not you smoke, whether or not you have diabetes, and your age, sex and race.
According to the American Heart Association, many people dont know their cholesterols are;too high because there are usually no symptoms. ;High cholesterol can cause a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol and other deposits on the walls of your arteries, reducing blood flow through the arteries. This can lead to coronary heart disease and complications, such as chest pain , heart attack and stroke.
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Can Dark Chocolate Lower Your Cholesterol
Could it really be true that indulging in a delicious, organic dark chocolate bar lowers cholesterol?;If you have high cholesterol, your dreams may have come true.;
Dark chocolate is one of many foods that have been shown to lower cholesterol in clinical trials. But, that doesn’t mean you should eat it with every meal.
Eating dark chocolate should be part of a change toward a healthier lifestyle;if you’re serious about lowering your cholesterol. Give yourself some dark chocolate as a reward for eating a healthy diet, losing weight, and reaching your exercise goals.
Cocoa Boosts Good Cholesterol
Researchers, who included Kazuo Kondo, MD, PhD, of Tokyo’s Ochanomizu University, studied 25 healthy Japanese men with normal or mildly high cholesterol levels.
First, the researchers checked participants’ blood and urine samples and divided them into two groups.
One group was assigned to drink cocoa containing sugar each day for 12 weeks.
For comparison, the men in the other group were told to drink a sugary beverage containing no cocoa for 12 weeks.
But it was no ordinary cocoa the first group drank. The researchers bought the cacao beans themselves and roasted, cracked, and ground them in their lab. They also analyzed the cocoa powder to make sure it hadn’t lost major amounts of antioxidants during processing.
At the end of the 12-week experiment, participants provided more blood and urine samples.
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Green Tea: Antioxidants Help Lower Ldl Cholesterol
All varieties of;antioxidant-rich tea; can help lower;LDL. Green tea, which is particularly rich in the powerful antioxidant;epigallocatechin;gallate;, has shown the best results.;EGCG;lowered;LDL;cholesterol levels by about 9 milligrams per deciliter in 17 trials reviewed in the;International Journal of Food Science Nutrition;in September 2016.
Unlike other teas, which are made from fermented leaves, green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the;EGCG;from being oxidized. While some studies have been done with an intake of seven or more cups a day, drinking a few cups of green tea daily should help and will keep you from getting too much caffeine. Preparing your green tea with loose tea, rather than tea bags, provides more;EGCG.
Could Chocolate Help Our Health More Than By Helping Our Cholesterol Levels
Intrigued by its effect on blood cholesterol, researchers attempted to determine if there were any other health benefits of chocolate.
The cocoa bean, from which real chocolate is derived, is a natural product and therefore contains many chemicals that can interact with the human body. For example, chocolate contains caffeine and we all know what caffeine does to the body. It turns out that chocolate also has little miracle compounds called antioxidants.
The blood is a war zone of sorts. Much of what we eat ends up in the bloodstream and certain things can injure the blood vessels. One way that the blood vessels are injured is through the action of oxidants sometimes called reactive oxygen species. In fact, atherosclerosis involves various pathways of oxidative damage.
Antioxidants, on the other hand, are the heroes of the blood vessel war. They neutralize chemicals that would otherwise harm the blood vessels.
The main antioxidants in chocolate are polyphenols which are similar to the antioxidants found in green or black tea.
These plant polyphenols can neutralize reactive oxygen species such as superoxide. About three ounces of pure dark chocolate contains the same amount of polyphenols as one cup of black or green tea.
Moreover, the beneficial effect of cocoa on LDL oxidation is roughly equal to that of red wine and tea.
Therefore, chocolate has other beneficial effects on blood vessel health than simply its ability to improve levels of plasma cholesterol.
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Milligrams Of Cholesterol In Chocolate
This list of 47 types of chocolate, is brought to you by www.dietandfitnesstoday.com and ranges from Candies, fudge, chocolate marshmallow, prepared-from-recipe through to Candies, semisweet chocolate where all food items are ranked by the content or amount per 100g. The nutritional cholesterol content can be scaled by the amount in grams, oz or typical serving sizes. Simply click on a food item or beverage from the list at the bottom of the page to give a full dietary nutritional breakdown to answer the question how much cholesterol in chocolate.
The list below gives the total cholesterol content in the 47 items from the general description ‘chocolate’ each of which show the cholesterol amount as well as Calories, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. Below, is the top 47 food items shown in the cholesterol chart. This gives a quick and easy dietary comparison for the different items, where each item is listed at the bottom of the page with a nutritional summary.
The corresponding nutritional value for chocolate based on our density score out of 100 is shown in the below nutritional density chart.
The corresponding Calories for chocolate ranked by the amount of cholesterol per 100g is shown below in the chocolate calories chart.
Content Per Typical Serving Size 1 Cup Chips
To give 100% of the RDA, 5.3 servings of the typical serving size 1 cup chips give the complete RDA. In terms of the gram weight and total content for this serving the Calories content is 898.8 kcal, the Protein content is 12.85 g, the Fat content is 49.83 g and the Carbohydrate content is 99.79 g. The percentages are shown below in the cholesterol chart, for the typical serving of cholesterol and the related and important nutritional values.
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Milligrams Of Cholesterol In Candy
The list below gives the total cholesterol content in the top 50 items from the general description ‘candy’ each of which show the cholesterol amount as well as Calories, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. The top 50 food items are shown in the graph below, to give a quick and easy dietary comparison for the different items, where each item is listed at the bottom of the page with a nutritional summary.
Dark Chocolate Lowers Ldl
Eating dark chocolate as a short-term intervention lowers low-density;lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels, according to a meta-analysis published in 2011 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers analyzed the data from 10 clinical trials in which the 320 participants added dark chocolate to their diet for 2 to 12 weeks.;
The dark chocolate intervention significantly reduced serum LDL and total cholesterol, but not high-density lipoprotein or triglycerides.
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Introduction To The United States
The Baker Chocolate Company, which makes Baker’s Chocolate, is the oldest producer of chocolate in the United States. In 1765 Dr. James Baker and John Hannon founded the company in Boston. Using cocoa beans from the West Indies, the pair built their chocolate business, which is still in operation.
White chocolate was first introduced to the U.S. in 1946 by Frederick E. Hebert of Hebert Candies in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, near Boston, after he had tasted “white coat” candies while traveling in Europe.
American Heart Association News Stories
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The Possible Health Benefits Of Chocolate
More research needs to be done, but recent studies suggest four possible health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa.
1. They May Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack.
A few squares of dark chocolate a day can reduce the risk of death from heart attack by almost 50% in some cases, says Diane Becker, MPH, ScD, a researcher with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Becker’s research found that blood platelets clotted more slowly in people who had eaten chocolate than in those who had not. This is significant because when platelets clump, a clot can form, and when the clot blocks a blood vessel, it can lead to a heart attack.
“The flavanols in cocoa beans have a biochemical effect of reducing platelet clumping, similar to but much less than aspirin,” Becker says in an email interview.
After reviewing 136 scientific publications on chocolate and its components and heart disease, researchers from Harvard University School of Public Health concluded that short-term studies suggest cocoa and chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by:
Chocolate Cholesterol Is It Good Or Bad
How does chocolate cholesterol affect your health? Is chocolate really bad for cholesterol levels in your blood? In this article, you will find the effects of chocolate on your blood cholesterol and your heart.
But first, here are the 3 common myths about chocolate and its effect on cardiovascular health:
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If That Was Not Enough Chocolate May Not Only Be Safe In Diabetes But Even Helpful
The main problem in Type 2 diabetes mellitus is that the body becomes resistant to insulin.
Since the cells of the body need insulin in order to absorb sugar, insulin resistance leads to low amounts of sugar in the cells and increased levels of sugar in the blood .
The flavinoid molecules in chocolate may reduce insulin sensitivity.
In other words, dark chocolate and cocoa has chemicals within it that can delay or improve diabetes.
Raises Hdl And Protects Ldl From Oxidation
Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease.
In a controlled study, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL for those with high cholesterol .
Oxidized LDL means that the LDL cholesterol has reacted with free radicals.
This makes the LDL particle itself reactive and capable of damaging other tissues, such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.
It makes perfect sense that cocoa lowers oxidized LDL. It contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants that do make it into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage (
However, dark chocolate also contains sugar, which can have the opposite effect.
Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.
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