Objective: To investigate the association between chocolate consumption and risk of stroke in men and conduct a meta-analysis to summarize available evidence from prospective studies of chocolate consumption and stroke.
Methods: We prospectively followed 37,103 men in the Cohort of Swedish Men. Chocolate consumption was assessed at baseline using a food-frequency questionnaire. Cases of first stroke were ascertained from the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry. For the meta-analysis, pertinent studies were identified by searching the PubMed and EMBASE databases through January 13, 2012. Study-specific results were combined using a random-effects model.
Results: During 10.2 years of follow-up, we ascertained 1,995 incident stroke cases, including 1,511 cerebral infarctions, 321 hemorrhagic strokes, and 163 unspecified strokes. High chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of stroke. The multivariable relative risk of stroke comparing the highest quartile of chocolate consumption (median 62.9 g/week) with the lowest quartile (median 0 g/week) was 0.83 (95 % CI 0.70-0.99). The association did not differ by stroke subtypes. In a meta-analysis of 5 studies, with a total of 4,260 stroke cases, the overall relative risk of stroke for the highest vs lowest category of chocolate consumption was 0.81 (95% CI 0.73-0.90), without heterogeneity among studies (p = 0.47).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that moderate chocolate consumption may lower the risk of stroke.