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  • 23 Jun, 2024

New study finds very minimal risk for kids from metals in chocolates

New study finds very minimal risk for kids from metals in chocolates

Chocolate lovers may have been alarmed by a 2023 Consumer Reports finding that some dark chocolate brands could contain harmful levels of lead and cadmium.

A new study by Tulane University published in Food Research International has found that dark chocolate poses no adverse risk for adults and contains nutritionally beneficial levels of essential minerals, despite a previous Consumer Reports finding that some dark chocolate brands could contain harmful levels of lead and cadmium.

The study sampled 155 dark and milk chocolates from various global brands sold in the United States and tested for the presence of 16 heavy metals. The researchers then modeled the risk of eating one ounce of the chocolates per day, equivalent to consuming more than two whole chocolate bars a week.

The study found that only one brand of dark chocolate exceeded the international limit for cadmium, and only four dark chocolate bars had cadmium levels that could pose a risk to children weighing 33 pounds or less, the average weight of a 3-year-old in the U.S.

"For adults, there is no adverse health risk from eating dark chocolate, and although there is a slight risk for children in four of the 155 chocolate bars sampled, it is not common to see a 3-year-old regularly consume more than two bars of chocolate per week," said lead author Tewodros Godebo, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

The study found that dark chocolates contained high levels of nutrients such as copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc, with several chocolates providing more than 50% of the daily requirement for children and adults.

The researchers also sorted the chocolates geographically and found that dark chocolates from South America had higher levels of cadmium and lead than chocolates from Asia and West Africa, the latter being a primary source of dark chocolate for the United States.

Overall, the study concluded that it is quite safe to consume dark chocolate and milk chocolates, even for chocolates from South America, as long as the consumption is moderate.