Q. Is there any evidence for the health benefits of chocolate? From what I read, there have never been true randomized studies.
Some ingredients in cocoa are probably good, but all that sugar really negates the benefits. I love chocolate too, but with all the massive obesity around us, do people need another excuse to stuff their faces with chocolate?
Maybe the answer is to get high-polyphenol cocoa and add it periodically to food.
A. There have been many randomized studies of dark chocolate or its antioxidant ingredients, cocoa polyphenols. They have consistently shown that cocoa polyphenols lower blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance (The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, March, 2013). In addition, an 8-week double-blind trial in 90 elderly people showed that consuming 990 mg of cocoa flavonoids daily in a drink had benefits for cognitive function (Hypertension, Sept., 2012).
Your idea of using high-polyphenol cocoa is good. CocoaVia is one such product that comes in a variety of flavors. Another brand making that claim is Chococru.
People who prefer solid chocolate as a source of flavonoids could get the benefit from a very small piece of dark chocolate: 5 grams a day, about the size of a postage stamp, offers benefits in epidemiological studies. Make sure the chocolate is at least 70% cocoa solids.