Dark chocolate and reduced snack consumption in mildly hypertensive adults: an intervention study
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ViittausKoli, Raika. Köhler, Klaus. Tonteri, Elina. Peltonen, Juha. Tikkanen, Heikki. Fogelholm, Mikael. (2015). Dark chocolate and reduced snack consumption in mildly hypertensive adults: an intervention study. Nutrition Journal, 14, 84. 10.1186/s12937-015-0075-3.
Several studies have shown that cocoa and cocoa-containing foods have the potential to lower blood pressure and improve endothelial function. Most of the studies reporting the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure have been short (≤ 4 weeks). The aim of the present 8-wks (weeks) study was to assess the effects of regular consumption of dark chocolate during a reduced snack consumption intervention on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in mildly hypertensive individuals.
This was a randomized, controlled, cross-over trial involving 22 adults (8 women, 14 men), aged 33–64 y, BMI 27.7 ± 3.7 kg/m2 with mild hypertension. During the intervention period (8-wks) the participants reduced the intake of habitual snacks and replaced them with dark chocolate (49 g/day). In the control period, they only reduced the snacks without any added chocolate. Data (blood lipid profile, glucose, insulin, 24 h blood pressure) was collected in the beginning and end of both periods (intervention and control), and some variables also in the run-in and run-out periods (weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure, arterial stiffness index, diet and physical activity).
Daily consumption of dark chocolate had no effects on 24 h blood pressure, resting blood pressure (mean ± SD, pre 142 ± 11.5/89 ± 8.4 mmHg vs. post 142 ± 14.2/88 ± 9.4 mmHg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively) or arterial stiffness (mean ± SD, pre 7.68 ± 0.88 vs. post 7.76 ± 0.89).
Weight was reduced by 1.0 ± 2.2 kg during the control (reduced snack only) period, but was unchanged while eating chocolate (p < 0.027 between the treatments).
The data collected in this study indicates that inclusion of dark chocolate daily in the diet had no significant effects on blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors during a reduced snack period.