20 September 2011

Evidence Based Medicine: Eat More Chocolate.

Early morning blog entry. I just read my first email of the day and it's from Medscape. Haha. Usually, the articles are about stress in the hospital and stuff like such which I already KNOW hello so the it usually goes through my auto-ignore routine: mark as read, archive (I haven't deleted an email since I switched to Gmail in 2004), and forget about it. This morning though the email said Benefits of Chocolate, and like anyone who likes to rationalize his or her bad behavior and guilty pleasures, I wanted more evidence for more rationalization. Hahaha.

So according to this continuing medical education article, previous studies published in different journals have been saying two things: that metabolic syndrome (a combination of medical disorders that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes) is on the rise and that chocolate consumption may prevent cardiometabolic disorders and cardiovascular events (i.e. heart attacks, strokes).

But we know that already. The articles written in magazines telling us it's okay to eat chocolate are most likely based on one of those earlier studies. What Dr. Adriana Lopez - Buitrago and her colleagues did was to do a meta-analysis -- a study which scrutinizes previous studies for sound methods, and looks at the results to see if those studies, when combined, support a given outcome. And the results!
"Although overconsumption can have harmful effects, the existing studies generally agree on a potential beneficial association of chocolate consumption with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Our findings confirm this, and we found that higher levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a one-third reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease."
This study encompasses all kinds of chocolate -- dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate covered biscuits, chocolate drinks, chocolatey desserts -- if it's chocolate it's good for you. For your heart and brain at least, not for your hips and thighs. Haha. 

In any case, chocolate trumps cigarettes any time. So stop smoking, and eat more chocolate! :)

f you want to read the Medscape article, it's here. It has a login page though. The full text of the study is available at http://www.bmj.com.

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