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Chocolate linked to weak bones

Women who eat chocolate daily may end up with weaker bones and could be more prone to fracture, says study.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 26, 2008 14:11 IST

Women who eat chocolate daily may end up with weaker bones and could be more prone to fracture, a new study in Australia suggests.

Cocoa used in chocolate has been known to provide a range of health benefits including benefits to the heart.

But after monitoring the amount of chocolate eaten over several weeks by 1,001 women aged between 70 and 85, scientists said that women who ate chocolate every day were found to have lower bone density than those who ate it less than once a week.

The low bone density was found in the hips, neck, tibia and heel bones of the women surveyed, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.

The researchers led by Jonathan Hodgson at the University of Western Australia believe that the findings may be because chocolate contains oxalate, a poisonous acid, which can reduce the calcium absorption and sugar, linked to calcium excretion.

Calcium is vital for maintaining healthy bones. The findings of the latest study appeared in the latest issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition less than a month after British medical journal The Lancet warned against considering chocolate as a healthy food.

The Lancet article said consumers were generally unaware that chocolate manufacturers often remove a healthy element called the flavanols, an antioxidant, because of their bitter taste.