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Could Lots of Chocolate Lower Your Heart Risk?
Date:8/29/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- People who eat chocolate regularly may not only be feeding their sweet tooth, but lowering their risk for heart disease, a new study suggests.

Chocolate has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease before, but in this analysis of recent studies involving more than 100,000 people, researchers find that those who eat the most chocolate on a regular basis reduce their relative risk for heart disease by one-third.

"We found a potential link between chocolate consumption and prevention of heart disease," said lead researcher Dr. Oscar H. Franco, from the department of public heath and primary care at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

"At this point we are in the early stages of research," he added. There have not been any clinical trials to see if this association is real, Franco noted.

Chocolate might be beneficial but people should not consume it with the hope that it will reduce their risk of heart disease, Franco said. And if they do eat it, "because of the fat and sugar content, it should be consumed in moderation."

"If you are already eating chocolate, do it in moderation; if you are not eating chocolate, our advice is not to start eating chocolate," Franco said.

The report was published in the Aug. 29 online edition of the BMJ, to coincide with the presentation of the findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris. The study did not receive funding from chocolate manufacturers.

For the study, Franco's team did a meta-analysis, which is a type of study where researchers comb the medical literature to find trends in relevant published studies.

In this case, the researchers identified seven studies that, combined, included 114,009 people.

When Franco's group pooled the data from these studies, they found that people who ate the most chocolate could reduce their r
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