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A Great Excuse to Eat Chocolate!
By Jennifer Morganti, ND

Cardiovascular disease risk is doubled for people with Type-2 diabetes, and one of the reasons is the high likelihood of having a poor cholesterol panel. Cholesterol levels can be improved with lifestyle modifications, such as exercise, weight loss, and proper diet. Fiber, fish, and nuts are some of the foods recognized for lowering cholesterol. But one of the most fun and surprising foods that may be beneficial is chocolate. We aren't talking about those Hershey's milk chocolate bars that you grew up eating. We're talking about the rich and delicious dark chocolate that contains high levels of polyphenols, an antioxidant that is found in many plant sources, such as red wine and green tea. Polyphenols have been researched and found to improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. The darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of polyphenols, and in fact, white chocolate has no polyphenols at all.

This current study compared the effects of consuming 45 g. of dark chocolate to placebo, in 12 individuals with Type-2 diabetes for eight weeks. Although a person with diabetes would normally be discouraged from consuming chocolate, this study revealed that it not only did not affect their blood sugar levels (dark chocolate is lower in sugar), but it improved HDL levels (good cholesterol). A healthy HDL level is an important indicator to prevent atherosclerosis and decrease cardiovascular disease risk.

And in case you are wondering how much 45 grams of chocolate is, it's equal to about nine Hershey's kisses. Just make sure you get the special dark ones.

Reference: Diabet. Med. 27, 1318–1321 (2010)



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