I recently saw on the news of a study to test chocolate pills for heart health. It figures that the big company Mars Inc. is helping to fund it, however, I think it's worth a shot. One can gain all the benefits of eating dark chocolate for heart health without the extra calories and fat.
Here's an excerpt from an article I read on ABC News:
The pills are so packed with nutrients that you'd have to eat a gazillion candy bars to get the amount being tested in this study, which will enroll 18,000 men and women nationwide.
The study will be the first large test of cocoa flavanols, which in previous smaller studies improved blood pressure, cholesterol, the body's use of insulin, artery health and other heart-related factors.
A second part of the study will test multivitamins to help prevent cancer. Earlier research suggested this benefit but involved just older, unusually healthy men. Researchers want to see if multivitamins lower cancer risk in a broader population.
The study will be sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Mars Inc., maker of M&M's and Snickers bars. The candy company has patented a way to extract flavanols from cocoa in high concentration and put them in capsules. Mars and some other companies sell cocoa extract capsules, but with less active ingredient than those that will be tested in the study; candy contains even less.
"You're not going to get these protective flavanols in most of the candy on the market. Cocoa flavanols are often destroyed by the processing," said Manson, who will lead the study with Howard Sesso at Brigham and others at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Participants will get dummy pills or two capsules a day of cocoa flavanols for four years, and neither they nor the study leaders will know who is taking what during the study. The flavanol capsules are coated and have no taste, said Manson, who tried them herself.
In the other part of the study, participants will get dummy pills or daily multivitamins containing a broad range of nutrients.
Participants will be recruited from existing studies, which saves money and lets the study proceed much more quickly, Manson said, although some additional people with a strong interest in the research may be allowed to enroll. The women will come from the Women's Health Initiative study, the long-running research project best known for showing that menopause hormone pills might raise heart risks rather than lower them as had long been thought. Men will be recruited from other large studies.
Below are facts on heart disease that I found on the CDC website:
Heart Disease Facts
America's Heart Disease Burden
- About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
- Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.
- Every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 190,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
- Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.