Whether chocolate is helpful for the heart has received opinion from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It turns out that the answer is a little more nuanced than a straightforward yes or no.
Barry Callebaut, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer, asked the FDA in 2018 for permission to use health claims on some of its goods. But, despite analyzing every study that was available, the FDA was unable to locate sufficient proof.
In a letter to the company, the agency stated that there is “supportive but inconclusive scientific evidence” that suggests consuming at least 200 mg of cocoa flavanols daily, such as those found in high flavanol cocoa powder, high flavanol semisweet, or high flavanol dark chocolate, may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Experts say it would be challenging to carry out the kind of study that would provide the most accurate answers: a clinical trial involving thousands of participants in which one group agreed to consume chocolate daily for years and another group agreed to consume chocolate never during the same time period.
The final word? Although while cocoa flavanols are beneficial, most highly processed, sweetened chocolate candies are unlikely to contain enough of them, according to experts. This is not to say that one shouldn’t indulge in their sweet tooth; just remember to do it in proportion.