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Diabetic? A Little Chocolate May Actually be Helpful

Dark chocolate has been touted recently for its heart health benefits and a recent study found that it may also help lower cholesterol levels among diabetics. The study was conducted by University of Hull researchers and published in the October 2010 issue of Diabetic Medicine.

For the study, the British researchers recruited 12 diabetics and split them into two groups. One group was given 45 grams of dark chocolate (high cocoa) and the other was given chocolate containing no cocoa.

After 16 weeks the researchers found that cholesterol levels fell among participants given the dark chocolate. They also found that despite the saturated fat in chocolate, none of the participants gained any weight and the sugar present in the chocolate did not affect control over their diabetes.

Although this was a small study, it aligns with a large body of research surrounding the heart benefits of chocolate. These benefits are often attributed to the high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants in cocoa called flavonols. These antioxidants have been shown to decrease inflammation, protect our DNA from damage and improve heart and brain health.

It is important to note that different kinds of chocolate contain varying amounts of cocoa, and therefore, varying amounts of flavonols. Dark chocolate contains the highest amount of cocoa and is therefore generally considered more healthy.

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