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Is chocolate good or bad for health

News Summary:

Chocolate is a good antioxidant, it has a good effect on inflammation

News Content:

Chocolate is a good antioxidant, it has a good effect on inflammation. We think most of the beneficial effects are because of this," said Dr. Owais Khawaja, a cardiology fellow at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. These benefits might include reducing the risk of cancer and dementia, Khawaja said.

However, not all chocolate is created equal. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power of chocolate is thought to come from a class of plant nutrients found in cocoa beans called flavonoids. Dark chocolate has more of these than milk chocolate, and white chocolate -- which does not actually contain chocolate -- is not a good source of flavonoids.

Even a chocolate bar that is 70% cocoa, generally considered dark chocolate, can have varying levels of flavonoid compounds, depending on how it was processed. For example, chocolate that has gone through a chemical step known as dutching, also known as Dutch chocolate, has essentially lost all traces of these compounds.

Then there is the milk and sugar. "What we get commercially is not just the pure chocolate. ... I don't think the milk and sugar in milk chocolate would be that good for you," Khawaja said.

For now, it is probably safe to say that dark chocolate is good -- or at least, not bad. "But until we have more data, don't eat too much. If you're having a serving once or twice a day, fine. But don't start having it six times a day," Khawaja said.

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