Death by Chocolate! (Well, OK, only incapacitation)
I know this Blog post is not going to win me many friends. But with Halloween right around the corner, I felt a moral obligation to tell you this: Chocolate consumption can negatively impact bone density.
A study was conducted on older women, in part because fractures are a significant issue for this population. It found that “older women who consumed chocolate on a daily basis had lower bone density and strength in comparison to women who rarely consumed chocolate, with greater likelihood of lower bone density for those that consumed chocolate one or more times per day.” In fact, “a single 100-g dose of dark chocolate was found to increase calcium excretion by 147%.” To our great enjoyment, chocolate products typically contain sugar which can increase calcium excretion through urine. However, the increase cannot entirely be attributed to sugar content because a matching dose of sugar, while causing some urinary calcium excretion, did not have as significant an amount of calcium excretion as the chocolate did. It is suspected that oxalate, found in chocolate and known to inhibit calcium absorption, explains the difference.
If you’re reading this and have decided that you will continue to have your dark chocolate deliciousness daily then at least be conscious about how you undertake this. Probably best to give your dietary supplements for bone strengthening, like Calcium, a wide swath of time to be digested before indulging. Perhaps also wait for a bit after you consume your dark leafy greens (you are consuming dark leafy greens, right?!). Maybe don't think of hot cocoa, made with real milk, as adding to your bone-healthy mineral intake for the day. And if you are choosing a dietary supplement in a shake or bar format as your means to support bone health, perhaps skip the chocolate flavored ones. If you want to improve bone health, here is a resource chock full of tips for those in any life stage. Stay strong!