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"Nibble on that dark chocolate - your heart will be grateful"

Vancouver Sun

Source: Vancouver Sun

Published: 04 Jul 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

CHICAGO - A nibble a day of dark chocolate helped lower blood pressure without packing on the pounds, German researchers said Tuesday.
Prior studies have shown foods rich in cocoa, such as like dark chocolate, offer heart benefits, but researchers have worried the added sugar, fat and calories would cancel out any good the chocolate might do.
Now it seems just a 30- calorie bite of dark chocolate - equivalent to 6.8 grams or a quarter ounce - can lower blood pressure without weight gain or other negative side effects.
" Regular intake of small amounts of dark chocolate can help to lower blood pressure," said Dr. Dirk Taubert of University Hospital of Cologne, Germany, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association....

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 11
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Our raters are wondering how one gets to be involved in a study like this? German researchers enrolled 44 adults aged 56 to 73 with hypertension but no other health problems between January 2005 and December 2006 and found that those who were given a daily snack of a 30 calorie square of dark chocolate containing polyphenols experienced a three- point drop in systolic blood pressure over those who were given a 30- calorie square of white chocolate that had no polyphenols.

It seems the most obvious bit of missing information is: who funded the study and does this drop in blood pressure translate into anything meaningful to one's health. The study spokesperson said that this drop in blood pressure translates into a reduced risk of "cardiovascular death by about five per cent," though we have to remember that lood pressure is merely a surrogate measurement.
This study was unblinded and there could be a stronger placebo effect with dark chocolate vs white chocolate. Seems like there are few side effects yet the reader is being left feeling curious about the dose-response effect. In other words, if a little chocolate is good, is a little bit more better?

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