Yes, this is cheering, even if the effect is not huge:
Larsson writes in the latest edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology: "High chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of stroke."Also, it's odd that this result from Sweden was not all based on dark chocolate:
Men who ate the most chocolate, a weekly average of 63 grams, had a 17% lower risk of stroke compared with men who ate none. The correlation did not seem to differ depending on different types of stroke.
Larsson corroborated her findings by conducting a meta-analysis of five other studies, containing a total of 4,260 cases of stroke across Europe and the United States. She found the risk of stroke for individuals in the highest category of chocolate consumption was 19% lower compared with non-chocolate eaters. Every increase in chocolate consumption of 50g per week, reduced the risk of stroke by about 14%, Larsson found.
Larsson said: "Interestingly, dark chocolate has previously been associated with heart health benefits, but about 90% of the chocolate intake in Sweden, including what was consumed during our study, is milk chocolate."Still, they recommend dark chocolate, but obviously in modest quantities.
The other good news was that it appears starving yourself for long life seems not to be worth the effort. There's a very good article at Slate about the recent monkey study about this, but it explains a lot more about the background to the calorie restriction idea, which goes back to the 1930's. I also didn't know this:
The history of calorie restriction research is strewn with odd results that have been left unexplained (at best) or outright ignored (at worst). When Steven Austad of the University of Texas–San Antonio tested wild-caught mice, for instance, he found no caloric-restriction-induced increase in lifespan. In another study, researchers created 42 different cross-bred mouse strains and found that in a third of the strains, caloric restriction actually seemed to shorten lifespan. And even Clive McCay, the father of caloric restriction, found weird results: In his 1935 experiment, caloric restriction worked only in the males.Even better, the article notes this:
In fact, caloric restriction really seemed to work best in standard laboratory mice. This may be because they are predisposed to eat a lot, gain weight, and reproduce early—and thus are more sensitive to reduced food intake. (Slate’s Daniel Engber has written about how overfed lab mice have distorted scientific research.)
Several studies have shown that excessive leanness—seen often in calorie-restricting humans—can be as risky as obesity. Taken together, these studies suggest that the optimal body-mass index is about 25, which is on the verge of being overweightGiven that I'm only about 2 or 3 kg over BMI 25, I'm somewhat encouraged.