Skip to main content

The Jury Is Out On Dark Chocolate

Yes, it has flavonoids, but you can get those nutrients elsewhere, experts say.

bars of dark chocolate on waxed paper

Four years ago, we asked CSL Behring cardiologist Dr. Danielle Duffy about dark chocolate and heart health.

The jury is out, she said at the time. Today, it’s still out. Consumer Reports recently pointed out the contradictory evidence about the health benefits of dark chocolate. Cacao contains flavonals, known to improve blood flow, but we still don’t know if chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease or improves cognitive function, a nutrition professor from Tufts University told Consumer Reports.

So the advice still stands from Duffy, who is Senior Director, Clinical Research and Development, Cardiovascular and Metabolism.

“If the chocolate craving strikes, treat yourself to dark chocolate in moderation (1 ounce portion, a few times a week),” she said. “However, the focus should be on an overall heart-healthy diet that contains flavonoids from other sources such as blueberries, red onions, citrus and tea.”

The American Heart Association also says evidence of health benefits is thin, but recommends dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate. Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a registered dietitian in Washington state, suggests dark chocolate with at least 80% cocoa solids, which is a surprising source of fiber.