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Habitual chocolate consumption and the risk of incident heart failure among healthy men and women

C S Kwok, Y K Loke, A A Welch, R N Luben, M A H Lentjes, S M Boekholdt, R Pfister, M A Mamas, N J Wareham, K-T Khaw, P K Myint
Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases: NMCD 2016, 26 (8): 722-34
27052923

BACKGROUND: We aimed to examine the association between chocolate intake and the risk of incident heart failure in a UK general population. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify this association.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We used data from a prospective population-based study, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort. Chocolate intake was quantified based on a food frequency questionnaire obtained at baseline (1993-1997) and incident heart failure was ascertained up to March 2009. We supplemented the primary data with a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies which evaluated risk of incident heart failure with chocolate consumption. A total of 20,922 participants (53% women; mean age 58 ± 9 years) were included of whom 1101 developed heart failure during the follow up (mean 12.5 ± 2.7 years, total person years 262,291 years). After adjusting for lifestyle and dietary factors, we found 19% relative reduction in heart failure incidence in the top (up to 100 g/d) compared to the bottom quintile of chocolate consumption (HR 0.81 95%CI 0.66-0.98) but the results were no longer significant after controlling for comorbidities (HR 0.87 95%CI 0.71-1.06). Additional adjustment for potential mediators did not attenuate the results further. We identified five relevant studies including the current study (N = 75,408). The pooled results showed non-significant 19% relative risk reduction of heart failure incidence with higher chocolate consumption (HR 0.81 95%CI 0.66-1.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that higher chocolate intake is not associated with subsequent incident heart failure.

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