It will not be as enjoyable as eating entire candy bars, but a large study will be launched to determine if pills that contain nutrients in dark chocolate are able to help to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
The pills will be packed with a large about of nutrients that a large number of candy bars would have to be eaten to receive the amount for the study, which will have 18,000 participants both male and female.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital located in Boston is heading up the study to see if there are benefits to health from ingredients in chocolate less the fat and sugar.
The study is the first large one for cocoa flavanols, which in smaller previous studies improved cholesterol, blood pressure, use of the body’s insulin, artery health as well as other related heart factors.
The second part of the large study will test the success of multivitamins in helping to prevent cancer. Research done earlier suggested the benefit, but involved only older men who were unusually healthy.
Scientists want to determine if the multivitamins lower the risk of cancer in a broader range of the population.
The study is being sponsored by Mars Inc, the maker of Snickers bars, and M&Ms and the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute.
The candy maker patented a way for extracting flavanols out of cocoa in high concentrations then putting them in capsules. Mars along with other companies sell the capsules with cocoa extract, but they contain less of the active ingredients than the ones that will be used in the study, while candy contains even fewer.
Doctors said that by eating candy a person would not receive the protective flavanols since many are destroyed through processing.
Participants in the study will be given two capsules of flavanols from cocoa or a placebo for a four-year period. Neither the study leaders nor the participants will know who took what during the four-year study.
The capsules with the flavanols do not have a taste.
From studies currently taking place, researchers will recruit participants, which saves money as well as lets the study move forward much quicker.