Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wanted: Women to Eat Lots of Chocolate

ChocolateIf you're past the menopause age, are suffering from type two diabetes and have a fondness for chocolate, a team of researchers at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital definitely have the perfect job for you. You will
need your GP's approval to embark on this quest, but once you get that, you're safe to do what most of us have been craving for ever since we hit puberty: eat a bar of Belgian chocolate every day, and allow scientists to see if this helps you get healthier. Based on previous research in the field, there's a good chance it will.

Chocolate is rich in fat, which usually makes it part of the "forbidden" list. However, chocolate also contains flavonoids, compounds which have long been thought to cut back the risk of developing heart disease. Chocolate manufacturers have, of course, taken full advantage of these speculations, and have funded a series of research studies to help promote the belief that the benefits of regular chocolate consumption outweigh all the other downsides. However, no such research has so far been conducted with scientific rigor – but with a little bit of help from 150 volunteers willing to eat a bar of chocolate a day, a team of experts is willing to right the wrong and come up with some real answers to the eternal question of whether or not chocolate really is the devil in disguise.

The chocolate patients involved in the study would eat is a special mix, designed to test the full impact of flavonoids on the human body. "The chocolate has three times the amounts of flavonoids you would find in a normal high cocoa chocolate. This has been achieved by a special extraction process that retains the chemicals we think are the important ones", study coordinator Peter Curtis explains. "If the trial confirms that flavonoids improve the level of protection against heart disease, it could have a far-reaching impact on the advice we give", said Ketan Dhatariya, consultant in diabetes at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

No comments: