Bone FractureChocolate

Eating chocolate leads to weaker bones

“Older women who consume chocolate daily had lower bone density and strength,” according to researchers in Australia.

First, the details.

  • 1001 elderly women (75 to 80 years old) randomly recruited from the general population were surveyed.
  • The frequency of chocolate intake was divided into 3 categories:
    • Less than 1 time/week
    • 1 to 6 times/week
    • Daily chocolate eating
  • Bone density and strength were measured using a series of laboratory studies.

And, the results.

  • There was a significant association between greater chocolate consumption and lower bone density and strength.
    • Daily consumption of chocolate was associated with a 3% lower whole-body bone density.
    • Similar lower bone density was measured in the total hip, femoral neck, tibia, and heel.
    • Lower bone strength was measured in the tibia and the heel.
  • Adjusting for potential confounding factors did not change the results.

The bottom line?
There are some weaknesses in the study design such as using a questionnaire rather than measuring actual chocolate intake. And the authors caution that more research is needed.

I think the most interesting thing about this study is that it illustrates why we should be careful accepting preliminary research results.

For example, simply based on this study, women will be tempted to not eat chocolate. But earlier articles (here and here) have pointed to the benefits of eating chocolate because of preliminary research results that show it contains polyphenols (antioxidants) that might prevent a long list of diseases.

Research is like adding bricks to a wall. You never know for sure how high the wall will go or how strong it will be until you’re done building.

1/5/07 10:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.