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Many Patients Say 'No' to Chocolate As Medicine
Date:8/12/2010

e a more salutary effect on blood pressure than either the tomato extract or the placebo, many participants just didn't find this treat palatable.

About half of those in the chocolate group "found it hard" to eat this amount of chocolate every day, while 20 percent "considered it an unacceptable long-term treatment option."

Participants had no problem with a daily pill, however.

The findings seem counterintuitive to the growing waistlines seen around the world, but Ried thinks she may have a reason for the reactions.

"There is something about consuming a food item voluntarily or having to eat it on a daily basis over a period of 12 weeks," she said. "In particular, half a block of dark chocolate [50 grams] is not an insignificant amount. Participants in our trial reported strong taste and concerns about fat/sugar content as reasons for unacceptability of chocolate as a long-term treatment option."

Or there may be other reasons and other options.

"I can't eat just 30 calories of chocolate, personally," said Marianne Grant, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator at Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, in Corpus Christi. "This does highlight the effect of antioxidants. Maybe if we could put them in other things, that might be better."

"This is another study that says dark chocolate is helpful in reducing blood pressure but really shouldn't be considered a medication," Steinbaum concluded.

More information

Learn more about heart-healthy eating at the American Heart Association.

SOURCES: Karin Ried, Ph.D, research fellow, discipline of general practice, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Australia; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., preventive c
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