Here are five important takeaways from the new U.S. dietary guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, published in Advances in Nutrition:
- 400 to 600mg of flavanols, daily, are recommended for improved cardio metabolic health outcomes, including lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
- 27% reduction in cardiovascular death observed in the COSMOS cocoa flavanol study (Harvard Medical School) is highlighted by guideline authors who conclude, “A continuously growing body of research demonstrates higher flavanol consumption may reduce the risk of certain cardiometabolic disease and related mortality.”
- 157 randomized controlled studies of flavanols were reviewed by the expert guideline panel of practitioners and researchers to inform the new U.S. dietary guidelines.
- Authors recommend people achieve target flavanol levels by increasing consumption of nutrient-dense, high-flavanol foods, including cocoa, rather than pills.
- Guidelines did not assess the potential benefits of flavanols on brain function or full body performance, where effective flavanol levels generally range between 500mg and 1,000mg. This may come later.