Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, August 6, 1999 Published at 00:58 GMT 01:58 UK


Health

Chocolate 'is good for you'

Evidence is growing that chocolate is good for you

Chocolate may be better for your health than tea because it contains more of a chemical that could prevent cancer and heart disease, researchers have said.


The BBC's Karen Allen reports: "Having chocolate with a cup of tea does you good"
The findings follow earlier research revealing that moderate chocolate consumption offers health benefits.

The new research measures the amount of catechins - the chemical thought to be behind the benefits - in different types of chocolate.

The substance is also found in tea - leading the researchers to recommend a cup of tea with a chocolate biscuit as one way to help maintain good health.

Chemical diet

The researchers, from Holland's National Institute of Public Health and Environment, published their findings in The Lancet medical journal.

Dr Ilja Arts and colleagues examined the chemical compounds in a range of foods and discovered that catechins are found in chocolate.

Up until now tea was thought to contain the largest amount but the new research indicates that dark chocolate has four times as many.

Catechins are believed to protect against heart disease and cancer and so eating products that contain them could have health benefits.

In the UK, where more than £3.5bn is spent on chocolate each year - the research is likely to be welcomed by those with a sweet tooth although dentists may be less pleased.

Tea and biscuits

Dark chocolate had 53.5mg of catechins per 100g, milk chocolate contained 15.9mg per 100g, and the black tea infusion contained only 13.9mg per 100ml.

In a later survey, the researchers found that in a sample of 6250 men and women, tea was the most important source of catechins, accounting for 55% of total intake.

Chocolate contributed to 20% of the total intake of catechins.

The researchers said: "Drinking a cup of tea and eating a chocolate cookie might be not only enjoyable but healthy as well."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

05 Jan 99†|†Health
Overweight Britons fail lifestyle test

18 Dec 98†|†Health
Chocolate is good for you - official

18 Nov 98†|†Health
Official: A little of what you fancy does you good





Internet Links


The Lancet

Institute of Food Research


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99