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Health Benefits of Chocolate Growing

Moderate Amounts May Help Heart Health and More, Researchers Find

Reality check: How much chocolate is enough? continued...

Dark chocolate is most often studied and found to have health effects.

A serving a day would be considered moderate, says Rene D. Massengale, PhD, a food chemist in Bloomington, Ind., and a spokesperson for the Institute for Food Technologists. She reviewed the findings but was not involved in the research. She has consulted in the past for Hershey's.

Perspective is crucial, she says. "Eating a lot of chocolate because you think you are going to get the health benefit, but having a 3,000-calorie diet, is not going to do you any good," she tells WebMD.

Eating chocolate definitely won't lower your body mass index (BMI), Ding tells WebMD. He disputes the conclusion of a research letter published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, finding that regular chocolate eaters have lower BMIs.

His review of 24 rigorous studies, he says, finds no effect. "The cocoa flavonoids absolutely yield no BMI or weight change," he says.

And those chocolate bars that were passed around at the meeting?

By any chocolate lover's standard, they would have to be described as teeny.

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