Dark Chocolate Health Benefits: American Heart Association News Release Says Dark Chocolate Helps Cardiovascular Health

Here is a definite answer to the question, “Is dark chocolate good for you?” Yes, the benefits of dark chocolate have been confirmed by medical science. According to an American Heart Association(AHA) scientific journal news release dated Aug. 17, 2010 there certainly are dark chocolate health benefits. According to the AHA report eating moderate amounts of chocolate is linked to lower risks of heart failure among other benefits.

Experts warn, however, moderation is they key. Murrray Mittleman, M.D.,Dr.P.H. and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston says ” If you’re going to have a treat, dark chocolate is probably a good choice, as long as it’s in moderation.”

This is because the potential benefits of dark chocolate must be carefully weighed against the negative risks from the calories and high fat in many commercial chocolate products.

Watching Out For Saturated Fat

What to look out for is the amount of saturated fat and sugar we consume with any type of sweets and chocolate products including dark chocolate. Be aware there is unsaturated fat and then there is the less desirable saturated fat. Dark chocolate health benefits actually come, in part, from its unsaturated fat component. The unsaturated fat in chocolate actually helps raise good HDL cholesterol levels and that is good for the heart.

The Fat Content Of A Popular Dark Chocolate Bar

The suggested number of blocks for a single serving is 3 for the large size (6.8oz) Hershey Special Dark. This comes to a total of 11 grams of fat per serving according to the label. Seven of those grams are actually saturated fat grams.

How Much Daily Fat Can We Tolerate?

The AHA says the average American adult needs about 2,000 calories in their daily diet. Also according to the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee sedentary (inactive) adults should limit daily saturated fat to 16 grams and total fat between 50 and 70 grams each day based on a 2,000 total calorie daily intake.

People that are active can actually consume more fat and calories with less negative consequences because of their generally higher metabolism rates and their need for more calories. By routinely exercising, eating fruits and vegetables and drinking at least eight glasses of water daily our bodies tend to burn more fat calories and flush more of the excess fat from the system.

The Good And The Bad On Hershey Special Dark

If we follow the guidelines of the AHA and if we are sedentary we will not want to consume more than 2 servings of Hershey Special Dark daily. This is due to the fact that a single serving, which is 3 blocks contains 7 grams of saturated fat. Two of these 3 block servings would provide a total of 14 grams of saturated fat.

Eating two servings as a sedentary individual leaves room for only 2 more grams of saturated fat in the diet before the daily recommended limit of 16 grams is reached.

The real down side, nutritionally, of the Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bar, like many supermarket brands, is its high sugar content. It is 50% sugar (18g of sugar in a 36 g serving) and 170 calories per 3 block serving. With this said, by all means enjoy dark chocolate health benefits but you may want to consider less sugary brands in doing so.