Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements
Studies show that chocolate high in flavanols can improve cognition in people with cognitive decline. Can it also boost memory in people who are cognitively healthy? Find out in the Memory section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powders Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolates and cocoa powders.
Studies suggest cardiovascular benefits from daily intake of cocoa flavanols, as found in dark chocolate. However, a new study, focusing on heart failure, suggests more limited intake. Get the details and our analysis in the Cardiovascular section of the Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, and Nibs Review. (Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate, cocoa powders, and more.)
Researchers from the U.S. FDA recently reported finding high levels of cadmium in cocoas as well as cocoa nibs and dark chocolates – particularly in cocoas from certain parts of the world. The results are similar to what ConsumerLab has reported. For details, see the Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Nibs, Extracts & Supplements Review >>
Short-term studies suggest that large doses of cocoa flavanols improve certain aspects of memory and cognition. A new study suggests that long-term habitual intake of dark chocolate, which is rich in flavanols, can also help. For more information, see the "What It Does" section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review >> [Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate bars in the Review.]
A recent study found that women consumed fewer calories after eating dark chocolate than after eating milk or white chocolate. Dark chocolate also resulted in better blood sugar control – an effect noted in other studies of moderate consumption of dark chocolate. Get the details on this and other effects of dark chocolate in the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review, which includes our tests and comparisons of popular products.
ConsumerLab’s tests of dark chocolates show them to contain about as much theobromine (a caffeine-related stimulant) as heart-healthy flavanols. So is all this theobromine good or bad? A recent study suggests that it may be an issue for people who need to control their blood sugar, while, on the positive side, it lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol. Get the details in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review, which includes comparisons of the amounts of theobromine in popular products, as well as amounts of flavanols, caffeine, and contaminants.
Eating chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of developing atrial fibrillation, according to a large, long-term study. Atrial fibrillation is associated with higher risk of stroke, heart failure and other serious problems. Details about this and other benefits of chocolate are found in the "What It Does" section of the Chocolate and Cocoa Powders Review, which includes our findings for the flavanol content and contamination levels of popular products.
"Occasional" consumption of chocolate was associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes among certain postmenopausal women, according to new study. For details about this and other effects of chocolate, see the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >>
A new study in which people with mild hypertension were given a cocoa beverage and dark chocolate daily for eight weeks found that it only helped lower blood pressure when people were taking certain blood pressure-lowering medications. For more details about this and other studies with cocoa and dark chocolate, as well as our tests and comparisons of products, see the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>
In addition to potential cardiovascular, memory, and other benefits, a new analysis shows that cocoa flavanols may reduce fasting glucose and improve insulin resistance. Get the details in the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >>
In a tasty new study, men who ate dark chocolate for several days were able to cycle somewhat further than those given a placebo (white chocolate), possibly due to the flavanols in dark chocolate -- which also appear to provide cardiovascular benefit. For details about the study and the chocolate, and ConsumerLab’s tests and reviews of dark chocolates and other cocoa-based products, see the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>
A study in older women found that drinking a high-flavanol cocoa drink each day increased skin elasticity. And while wrinkles deepened among those drinking a placebo, they stayed stable in the cocoa-drinking group. For details about the amount of cocoa consumed (and its flavanol content), as well as our tests of flavanols (and contaminants) in popular cocoa powders and chocolates, see the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >>
A new study found that, even at high doses, cocoa flavanols did not cause adverse cardiovascular effects in healthy men and women. However, be aware that drug interactions and certain side effects can occur. Details are provided in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>
A drink rich in cocoa flavanols modestly improved certain measures of cardiovascular health in healthy, middle-aged men and women, according to a recent study. Get the details, including dosage, plus our tests of popular products, in the Review of Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements >>
A small study found that drinking a cocoa drink high in flavanols significantly increased blood flow to the brain, which, the researchers propose, might have potential cognitive benefits. Get the details, including dosage, plus more about cocoa and memory, and our tests of popular products, in the Cocoa Supplements and Dark Chocolate Review >>
A recent study of natural cocoa taken daily showed potential cardiovascular benefits -- but they seemed greater for some people than others. See the details in the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >>
Cocoa flavanols have been shown in some studies to provide a cardiovascular benefit and, in older individuals, memory improvement. A recent study in younger men and women showed that daily use of a cocoa extract had little effect on memory and no cardiovascular benefit, although it did improve mental fatigue shortly after taking the extract. Learn more about the effects of cocoa, dosage, and see our tests and reviews of cocoa products in the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >>
A recently published study showed that hot cocoa made with a flavanol-enriched powder resulted in improvements in cognitive performance as well as reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol, and improved glucose metabolism. The study was conducted in people ages 65 to 80 who drank the cocoa each morning. More details, as well as our tests of cocoa powders, are found in the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >>
Our recent tests of cocoa-based products found problems with many popular brands of cocoa powders, which were high in cadmium and/or lead. No problem was found, however, with a widely-sold dark chocolate bar, which also had a good amount of potentially beneficial flavanols. A new report by academic researchers in Brazil shows that some dark chocolate bars do contain lead in excess of what the FDA permits (although brands were not identified.) More about this, as well as our test results for 15 cocoa products, is found in updated Review of Cocoa/Cacao Powders, Extracts, Nibs, Supplements, and Chocolate >>
A new, small study found that people with peripheral artery disease who consumed dark chocolate with a high cocoa content were able to walk further than they normally could. Consuming milk chocolate did not have this effect. The improvement was seen shortly after consuming just one dose. For more details, including dosage, as well as our tests and comparisons of cocoa supplements and chocolate, see the update to the Cocoa Powders, Extracts and Chocolate (Sources of Flavanols) Review >>
Unlike the study we reported last week showing potential help for acne from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements, a new study found that giving pure cocoa to men ages 18 to 35 had the opposite effect -- overall, more pimples. Get the details, along with our tests and comparisons of cocoa and chocolate products, in the update to the Cocoa Powders, Extracts and Chocolate Review >>