Dark Chocolate Health Benefits American Heart Association Reports Dark Chocolate Helps Heart

If you love chocolate there is great news concerning the benefits of dark chocolate. The answer to the question, “Is dark chocolate good for you?” is coming to you now from the elite Harvard Medical School. Dark chocolate health benefits have actually been identified and confirmed. As reported by the American Heart Association(AHA) scientific journal news release dated Aug. 17, 2010, lower risks of heart failure are actually associated with eating occasional dark chocolate.

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.”

The reason for moderation is, although the benefits of dark chocolate are clear from scientific studies, the consequences of consuming too much fat and too many calories must be weighed in as well.

What To Watch Out For Is 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 America’s Most Popular Chocolate Bar

Hershey’s Special Dark’s suggested serving size is 3 blocks for the large 6.8oz(192 grams) size bar. The total fat per serving in 3 blocks is 11 g of which 7g is saturated fat.

How Much Daily Fat Do We Need?

The average adult needs about 2,000 calories each day. The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee strongly advises, based on this number of calories consumed, that the average sedentary adult limit total fat intake to less than 16 g saturated fat and total fat in the range of 50 to 70 grams total daily.

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.

How Much Hershey Special Dark Is Too Much?

Based on the AHA’s fat intake recommendation sedentary adults should stick to eating no more than two servings of Hershey Special Dark. This would be two servings of 3 blocks each of the large 6.8oz bar in a single day. In terms of saturated fat, this would contain 2 X 7g = 14grams of saturated fat content. This is within healthy daily limit guidelines (16 grams) for daily saturated fat consumption.

Keep in mind this allows for only another 2 grams of saturated fat from other sources in the diet for that day for sedentary people.

Other than saturated fat, the main negative with many store bought brands of chocolate is the high sugar content per serving. Observing the nutritional labeling of the Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bar we see that it is composed of one half sugar. This is based on each 36 gram serving having 18 grams of sugar. With this said, by all means enjoy dark chocolate health benefits but you may want to consider less sugary brands in doing so.