Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Should Hershey's recent study lead you to eat more chocolate?

Not according to one of the study's lead researchers.

The study involved researchers looking at 45 people who were assigned to either eat a daily 0.8 ounces of cocoa without sugar, 0.8 ounces of cocoa with sugar, or 0.8 ounces of placebo for six weeks.

The findings?

Of the 39 subjects who completed the trial (6 people dropped out of an eat chocolate every day trial?), "flow mediated dilation" improved in the groups consuming cocoa with no sugar (2.4 %) and cocoa with sugar (1.5%) when compared to placebo (-0.8 %).

So are these results impressive? Should you rush out and buy chocolate?

If you ask the study's lead researcher the answer is an unequivocal no,

"While the findings from this study do not suggest that people should start eating more chocolate as part of their daily routine, it does suggest that we pay more attention to how dark chocolate and other flavonoid-rich foods might offer cardiovascular benefits"
So what did Hershey's do?

Click the ad above for a closer look.

Faridi Z, Njike VY, Dutta S, Ali A, & Katz DL (2008). Acute dark chocolate and cocoa ingestion and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 88 (1), 58-63 PMID: 18614724

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  1. Anonymous11:42 am

    Just a small point, where did you get the value of 8 ounces of cocoa? I only saw values of 22g of cocoa in the study abstract or 74g of actual chocolate bar.

  2. Of course they did!

    I wonder what the cocoa placebo consists of. I assume it tastes like chocolate?

  3. Sorry, should read 0.8oz.

    Will correct.


  4. But look Yoni - it says "eat in moderation" in fine print at the bottom of the ad. That absolves Hershey's of any wrongdoing in my eyes:)

  5. Another twist in the tale: in the US, Mars has had "Cocoa Via", a line of "nutriceutical" chocolates aimed at women. I haven't looked for them in a while (the chocolates and confections were not worth the highly-inflated cost -- if I want to "indulge in moderation", as opposed to utterly and completely jag on chocolate, I'd much rather spend the money on a "gourmet" chocolate bar).

  6. Anonymous4:21 pm

    On the bright side, Hershey's hasn't claimed that their milk chocolate is healthy because it contains calcium. Yet.