Is chocolate good for me?
Is it right that chocolate is good for me and if so, what type should I eat?
BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:
We’re asked to comment on chocolate research on a fairly regular basis, usually in the hope that our advice will be to eat more! However, while there have been a number of studies looking at the effect of chocolate on heart disease risk, the results aren’t conclusive enough for us to recommend eating it for health reasons.
Eating healthily is not about including or excluding single foods
It’s been suggested that the benefits of chocolate seen in research studies could be due to antioxidants found naturally in the cocoa. However, the milk chocolate that is popular in the UK is pretty low in cocoa solids and therefore in the antioxidants.
The other thing to remember is that all chocolate - whether white, milk or dark - is high in calories because of its fat and sugar content. So if you eat too much of it you could put on weight, which obviously is not good for your heart.
So, rather than trying to make chocolate a “healthy option”, remember that all foods can be part of a healthy balanced diet, including chocolate. Being too restrictive about your diet can make it really difficult to stick to and that can make you not want to bother at all.
Eating healthily is not about including or excluding single foods - it’s about eating a wide range of foods in the right proportions and, above all, enjoying your food. So, if you like chocolate, have some every now and then as part of a balanced diet, just because you like it.
So, while there are still no magic weight-loss foods, it’s important to take care when choosing food. Make the right choices and over time it could help you achieve a healthy weight – and keep it for life too.
Meet the expert
Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with more than ten years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At the BHF she advises on diet and nutrition.