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British Journal of Nutrition

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Abstract/ Summary

This study examined the association of chocolate consumption with insulin resistance and serum liver enzymes in a national sample of adults in Luxembourg. A random sample of 1153 individuals, aged 18–69 years, was recruited to participate in the cross-sectional Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg study. Chocolate consumption (g/d) was obtained from a semi-quantitative FFQ. Blood glucose and insulin levels were used for the homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Hepatic biomarkers such as serum γ-glutamyl-transpeptidase (γ-GT), serum aspartate transaminase and serum alanine transaminase (ALT) (mg/l) were assessed using standard laboratory assays. Chocolate consumers (81·8 %) were more likely to be younger, physically active, affluent people with higher education levels and fewer chronic co-morbidities. After excluding subjects taking antidiabetic medications, higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower HOMA-IR (β=−0·16, P=0·004), serum insulin levels (β=−0·16, P=0·003) and γ-GT (β=−0·12, P=0·009) and ALT (β=−0·09, P=0·004), after adjustment for age, sex, education, lifestyle and dietary confounding factors, including intakes of fruits and vegetables, alcohol, polyphenol-rich coffee and tea. This study reports an independent inverse relationship between daily chocolate consumption and levels of insulin, HOMA-IR and liver enzymes in adults, suggesting that chocolate consumption may improve liver enzymes and protect against insulin resistance, a well-established risk factor for cardiometabolic disorders. Further observational prospective research and well-designed randomised-controlled studies are needed to confirm this cross-sectional relationship and to comprehend the role and mechanisms that different types of chocolate may play in insulin resistance and cardiometabolic disorders.