Study asks 'Is dark chocolate good for you?'

May 6, 2010

Volunteers are to have chocolate delivered to their homes and be encouraged to eat 50g of it every day for eight weeks as part of a new research study.

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast, funded by Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke and the NI Research and Development Office, are to study 110 people with high blood pressure for the opening stage of a three-year project starting in August.

The aim is to discover if a high fruit and vegetable incorporating and berries - which are all rich in important compounds called polyphenols - is better for the cardiovascular system than a diet low in fruit and vegetables.

Dr Pascal McKeown from Queen's School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences who is leading the study, said: "The important thing to stress is that the chocolate we will be using will be very high in cocoa - at least 70 per cent. Standard milk chocolate has nothing like the polyphenol content of dark chocolate.

"One group of patients will be put on a low polyphenol diet - probably the average UK diet, since most people tend to eat only two portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Another group will be encouraged to eat six portions of fruit and vegetables, including one portion of berries, each day, together with the 50g of dark . We will examine people's blood vessel health and the stickiness of their blood at the start and end of the study to discover whether a diet rich in polyphenols can reduce the risk of developing heart disease."

Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of NI Chest, & Stroke (NICHS), said: "This is a great example of high quality research which has the potential to benefit first and foremost the people of Northern Ireland, but also has applications further afield. We hope it will provide a solid evidence base for fine-tuning the government's advice on healthy eating."

NICHS has provided funding of £32,000 for the project. One of the researchers, Dr Rebecca Noad, has also secured a Fellowship award from the Department of Health's Research and Development Office.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

wolfkeeper
not rated yet May 06, 2010
Given the high levels of lead in chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, I have my doubts that this is a healthy choice.
VOR
not rated yet May 07, 2010
I hadnt heard about lead in choc. Do you how it gets into it?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.