For many of us, dark chocolate is a tasty treat that we feel good about eating. According to the National Library of Medicine, the benefits of eating chocolate include several cardiovascular benefits, such as “regulation of blood pressure and insulin levels.”
In fact, some studies even show that “cocoa plays a role in treating cerebral conditions, such as stroke.” We also know that the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar level.
With all the health benefits of dark chocolate, is there any reason not to eat this treat that ancient Mayans called the food of the gods? Turns out, there may be some dangerous health consequences to eating dark chocolate. In fact, we may be ingesting some metal with our dark chocolate.
A new study by Consumer Reports shows that there are concerning levels of heavy metals in certain dark chocolate products on the market. While we’re enjoying our tasty treat, we may just be ingesting high levels of lead and cadmium.
The Dark Side Of Dark Chocolate
The study tested a variety of brands, including some smaller companies and ones that many of us know, such as Dove, Hershey’s, and Ghirardelli. As the report found, “For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and [Consumer Reports] experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals. Five of the bars were above those levels for both cadmium and lead.”
Apparently, the risks associated with eating these levels of heavy metals are very dangerous. “The danger is greatest for pregnant people and young children because the metals can cause developmental problems, affect brain development, and lead to lower IQ,” according to Tunde Akinleye, the Consumer Reports food safety researcher who led the study.
Although pregnant women and young children are at the highest risk, all people are susceptible to health problems from too much exposure. Some of the more severe risks include “nervous system problems, hypertension, immune system suppression, kidney damage, and reproductive issues.”
With all the potential health risks of heavy metals found in dark chocolate, should we stop eating the succulent treat? Thankfully, the answer is no. The best thing to do is to be more mindful about the specific dark chocolate we’re eating and to reduce the intake of our midday energy booster.
Want to know if your favorite dark chocolate bar is unsafe? Take a look at the list. Some of the brands may surprise you!