Phillip Minton M.D.

Can Chocolate Cause Cancer?

In cancer, chocolate, prevention diet on September 18, 2011 at 10:00 am

There is an old adage…seek moderation in all things. What happens if we are immoderate in our consumption of dark chocolate? In particular, can it cause cancer?

In my book “Chocolate, Healthfood of the Gods”, I present ample scientific evidence that dark chocolate consumption actually lessens the risk of cancer development. But what about really high intake levels of cocoa, far above the amount we would normally eat per day? Could it cause the opposite effect?

This interesting question was addressed in a study performed on lab animals by Hershey. The study found no evidence that cocoa powder in the diet, even at levels as high of 5% of dietary consumption, raised cancer levels or was carcinogenic. As a matter of fact, the study authors noted that “No evidence of treatment-related clinical disease or ocular effects was noted“. Nice to know, but not surprising!

Food Chem Toxicol. 1991 Jan;29(1):7-19. Chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity studies of cocoa powder in rats. Tarka SM Jr, Morrissey RB, Apgar JL, Hostetler KA, Shively CA. Hershey Foods Corporation Technical Center, PA 17033-0805.


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