Small portions of chocolate a day can actually be good for your health — if it’s the right type and the right amount, according to a European regulator. On Tuesday, the European Food Safety Authority backed the claim of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer that cocoa powder and dark chocolate do indeed have health benefits. Swiss company Barry Callebaut, which supplies Nestle and Hershey’s with cocoa products, submitted evidence to the safety authority that shows 10 grams of dark chocolate or the equivalent in cocoa powder can be good for blood circulation.

Before you start gorging on chocolate, however, the health claim still needs to be approved by the European Commission in order for companies to put it on their product labels.

— Posted by Tracy Bloom


For the clinical studies it conducted to back up the claim, Barry Callebaut said it used a special process to make cocoa products that maintains the flavanols, which are usually mostly destroyed during conventional chocolate-making.

In an opinion posted on the EFSA website, a scientific panel concluded that a cause and effect relationship had been established between the consumption of cocoa flavanols and the maintenance of normal vasodilation, which aids blood flow.

A string of scientific studies in recent years have shown the potential for health benefits from eating chocolate. Research last year suggested it might be associated with a one-third reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.

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