Completed Projects

Title: Effects of Acute and Sustained Ingestion of Cocoa on Endothelial Function in Adults with BMI between 25-35 kg/m2: A Randomized, Single Blind, Placebo Controlled, Trial
Status: Completed
Topic: Cardiovascular Health / Endothelial Function*
Funding Source: Hershey Foods Corporation
Funding Period: 2005-2007
Study Design: Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Cross-Over Trial
Purpose: To examine the acute effects of sugar-free, liquid, cocoa and dark, solid chocolate ingestion on endothelial function and associated markers of cardiovascular health among overweight adults. The study also assessed the sustained effect of liquid cocoa ingestion on vascular health. An initial pilot study was conducted to evaluate the dose response effects of sugar-free liquid cocoa ingestion.
Further Study Details:

Phase 1 (acute)

45 participants were randomly assigned to receive one of the two possible sequences of 74 g solid dark chocolate and 74 g placebo.

In Phase 2 (sustained)

Participants were randomized to the following liquid treatment assignments: 22 g sugar-free cocoa, 22 g sugared cocoa and 22 g placebo for a period of 6 weeks. Participants underwent endothelial function testing after each treatment assignment to determine the short and long term effect on endothelial function. The primary outcome measure was endothelial function; secondary outcome measures included BMI, waist circumference, C-reactive protein, blood pressure, serum glucose, and lipids.

Findings: The acute ingestion of both solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa improved endothelial function and lowered blood pressure in overweight adults. Endothelial function was significantly lower after dark chocolate consumption compared to placebo. The same results occurred with the sugar-free liquid cocoa; cocoa ingested for six weeks improved endothelial function from baseline as compared to placebo. Other markers of heart health (blood pressure, C-reactive protein, LDL oxidation, endothelin and lipid hydro-peroxide) did not change from baseline as compared to placebo following sugar-free or sugared cocoa assignment. Based on the results of all phases of our study, it appears that solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa significantly improve endothelial (blood vessel) function. Sugar-free cocoa seems to provide the greatest benefit, but moderate consumption of any kind of dark chocolate should promote cardiovascular health.
Eligibility: Non-smoking adults ages 30-75 years with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25-35 kg/m2, and a waist circumference greater than 88 cm in women and 102 cm in men.

Changed at: 1/17/2011 10:58 AM Changed by: Judy Treu
Created at: 8/30/2010 11:48 AM Created by: Griffin Hospital