Chocolate and diabetes, two subjects that tend not to go together in a positive way. But, new research suggests that cocoa compounds may actually help delay the onset of type-2 diabetes.  

The study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that cocoa compounds can help the body release more insulin and respond better to increased blood glucose.  

Insulin is a hormone that helps balance glucose and blood sugar levels. Those with diabetes either don’t produce enough insulin or their body does not process blood sugar properly.  

In a ground-breaking study the authors discovered this is due to a failure of beta cells, whose job it is to produce insulin. They also discovered that beta cells work better and stronger with an increased presence of compounds within cocoa, epicatechin monomers.   

“The epicatechin monomers are making the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger, which produces more ATP, which then results in more insulin being released,” said study author Jeffery Tessem. 

While these results are promising, unfortunately loading the trolley up in the chocolate isle is not the answer. “You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don’t want it to have a lot of sugar in it,” Tessem said. “It’s the compound in cocoa that you’re after.” 

The results of this study, however, are still significant and may have implications for future treatment of diabetes. “These results will help us get closer to using these compounds more effectively in foods or supplements to maintain normal blood glucose control and potentially even delay or prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes,” co-author Andrew Neilson said.  

While this study concluded that chocolate is not the answer to delaying type-2 diabetes there are a number of other proven benefits. So pick that (dark) chocolate bar back up because here are 3 ways eating chocolate is good for your health 

  • Promotes healthy circulation 

The circulatory system plays a vital role in our daily functions, delivering oxygen and vital nutrients to organs and tissues.  The flavonols in cocoa help promote healthy blood circulation throughout the body to maintain a smooth flow of oxygen and nutrients.  

Unfortunately for milk chocolate lovers, it is dark chocolate that has the most sizeable impact on circulatory health. The flavonols in dark chocolate can stimulate the lining of our arteries, lowering resistance to blood flow and also lowering blood pressure.  

  • Lowers risk of heart disease 

That hot chocolate isn’t just warming your heart on a cold evening, it might actually be helping your heart health too. 

A study published in The BMJ found that high levels of chocolate consumption resulted in a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease.  

  • Lowers risk of stroke   

High consumption of dark chocolate has also been associated with lowering the risk of stroke by up to 29%. Another study conducted by Canadian scientists found that chocolate eaters were 22% less likely to suffer strokes. 

So go ahead and treat yourself!