Nutr Res Pract.  2021 Feb;15(1):80-94. 10.4162/nrp.2021.15.1.80.

Chocolate consumption and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the Korean adult population: an analysis based on the 2014-2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea


Recent studies have reported chocolate consumption has beneficial effects on blood pressure, obesity, and dyslipidemia, which are components of metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, evidence regarding these relationships in Asia is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate relations between chocolate consumption and MetS in Korea.
Study subjects were 6,982 adults aged 19-64 years free of major chronic diseases that participated in the 2014–2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Information on chocolate consumption was obtained using food frequency questionnaires. For primary analysis, subjects were divided into two groups: non-consumer (n = 3,741, 53.6%); consumer (n = 3,241, 46.4%). In order to investigate doseresponse effects on MetS, chocolate consumers were divided into quartiles based on amounts consumed: Q1 (n = 789, 24.3%); Q2 (n = 837, 25.8%); Q3 (n = 863, 26.6%); Q4 (n = 752, 23.2%) in second analysis.
Chocolate consumers; 1) were more physically active(P < 0.0001); 2) less likely to smoke(P < 0.0001); 3) paid more attention to food nutrition labels (P < 0.0001), and 4) had healthier dietary patterns, that is, they consumed vegetables, fruits, and dairy products more frequently(P < 0.0001) than non-consumers. Furthermore, chocolate consumers had a 30% lower risk of MetS (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.58–0.86; P = 0.0005). However, dose-response effects between chocolate intake and MetS was not found by secondary analysis after excluding non-consumers.
In conclusion, chocolate consumers had healthier lifestyles and dietary patterns and a lower prevalence of MetS than non-consumers, as determined by our primary analysis. Although dose-response effects were not found to be significant among chocolate consumers during secondary analysis, the patterns were partially similar. This cross-sectional finding shows chocolate consumption does not increase the risk of MetS. The prospective studies and intervention trials in Korea are needed to confirm this cross-sectional finding.


Chocolate; metabolic syndrome; epidemiologic studies; Republic of Korea
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