Thousands to Take 'Chocolate Pills' in Huge 4-Year Test
Study to see whether high concentrations of cocoa flavanols promote heart health
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2014 7:32 AM CDT
This Thursday, Nov. 24, 2005 file photo shows organic cocoa beans in storage at a factory in Ocumare de la Costa, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Caracas, Venezuela.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

(Newser) – Surely you've heard that chocolate can be good for you: Now researchers are aiming to take all of dark chocolate's healthy components and pack them into pill form, in an attempt to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. In previous studies, cocoa flavanols have been found to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin levels, and artery health, among other things, but this is the first large study to look at them. And large it is, with 18,000 participants taking either two cocoa flavanol capsules or dummy pills a day for four years.

As the AP puts it, the pills will contain so many nutrients, "you'd have to eat a gazillion candy bars to get the amount being tested in this study." Adds the lead researcher, "You're not going to get these protective flavanols in most of the candy on the market," as they're destroyed during processing. But a familiar name—Mars Inc., maker of M&M's and Snickers—has patented a method for extracting high-concentration flavanols from cocoa and inserting them into capsules, and is one of the sponsors of the study. A nutrition researcher tells the Boston Globe he's "90% certain they'll find something beneficial with cocoa flavanols." No need to be jealous of the participants: The pills are not yummy; they actually have no taste.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Mar 20, 2014 3:30 PM CDT
It makes sense. Its like the diabetes prevention program paid for and managed by C&H Sugar. She came around to our town several years ago and talked about the wonderful things you do with pure sugar that you shouldn't do with anything else. She then said that irresponsible consumption of sugar is never recommended. So, Mars is one of the manufacturers who use the artificial ingredients to make chocolate products. Back in the turn of the century, the chocolate makers had dairy farms. The product they put out was superior and comparable to European chocolate. But war caused the diary operations to concentrate on soldiers and the candy makers adapted to using hydrogenated oils instead. So the dairy farm at Hershey Penn closed up and they put in huge towers of HFCS and oils. I have to trust my mom and grandmother who say today's Hershey bar is far inferior to 60 years ago. I just know it keeps getting smaller and thinner. But I also know that real Mexican chocolate cannot be beat because they use the Mayan formula.
iq145
Mar 18, 2014 8:29 PM CDT
The so-called experts just can't make up their minds. Everything is bad for you at some point, then everything is good for you later.
CaptainStubing
Mar 18, 2014 4:31 PM CDT
The rest of the story..."Many obese consumers were both confused and disheartened to learn that the "M&M and Milk Dud pills" they've been taking for years actually have no medicinal value."