Dark chocolate is frequently promoted as a heart-healthy treat because it contains a lot of beneficial plant components called flavonols. But an investigation by Consumer Reports that came out in December 2022 found that many well-known brands of dark chocolate have amounts of lead and cadmium that could be dangerous.
Exposure to either of these heavy metals over an extended period of time, even at low levels, has been associated with a number of health issues, including cardiovascular disease. Researchers calculated the danger caused by dark chocolate using California's maximum permissible dose limits for lead (0.5 micrograms, or mcg) and cadmium (4.1 mcg). Eating just one ounce of any one of the 23 out of the 28 chocolate bars would put an adult over the limit for at least one of the heavy metals. Lead and cadmium levels were over the limits in five bars.
When the crop grows, as well as during harvest and processing, contaminated soil can contaminate chocolate, which is derived from the seeds of the cacao tree, with cadmium and lead. Choose dark chocolate products that Consumer Reports consider to be safer selections (see /darkchoc) to reduce your exposure, or just indulge in it rarely rather than frequently.
Photo by Via Studio