Study Shows Dark Chocolate is the Better Choice

Saturday July 7 is World Chocolate Day. A dietitian comments on a recent study and explains why dark chocolate is likely the best choice for your health.

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CLEVELAND – Saturday July 7 is World Chocolate Day.

And while many of us disagree on which variety of chocolate we like best, a recent study lends some credence to dark-chocolate fans.

The study looked at a group of men and women with an average age of 26.

Researchers found that improvements in vision, including contrast sensitivity and visual acuity were significantly higher two hours after eating a dark chocolate bar in comparison with a milk chocolate bar.

“The antioxidants help decrease the stress in your body, which then has been shown to help improve blood flow to your brain, to your heart, and in this study, to your eyes, which helped those subjects see better,” said Kate Patton, R.D., of Cleveland Clinic who did not take part in the study.

Patton recommends that when choosing a dark chocolate bar, look for 70 percent cacao or higher – the higher the number, the more flavanols and the greater the benefit. Just remember that the higher the cacao percentage, the less sweet the chocolate will be.

But don’t get carried away with too much of a good thing – Patton said it’s important to keep portions under control too.

“It’s a good, heart-healthy type of treat to incorporate sparingly in your diet,” she said. “The main thing is to watch out for the portion size, because dark chocolate still has a lot of fat in it and it is still high in calories. An ounce or less is a good portion size.”

The study authors said more research needs to be done to determine any long-term vision benefit from eating dark chocolate.

Complete results of the study can be found in JAMA Ophthalmology.

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