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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Botched Aspirin Study Divulges Unexpected Heart Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate


An aspirin study by Drs. Becker and Faraday turned to dark chocolate

This UK Guardian story should bring a great big smile to the face of virtually any research scientist who has worked with a group of study participants unwilling to follow the dictates of their experiment exactly as they were supposed to. But sometimes that's okay when the unexpected results end up making an important point regarding heart health.

Lead researchers Dr. Diane Becker and Dr. Nauder Faraday from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine were in the midst of a 19-month study (June 2004-November 2005) on aspirin and its effect on counteracting the clotting of blood platelets called the Genetic Study of Aspirin Responsiveness (GeneSTAR) among 1,200 American adults (500 men and 700 women).

The researchers gave the study participants strict orders to NOT eat any chocolate during the study. But, human nature and the attractiveness of doing the opposite of what you are told led 139 of those in the study to eat chocolate anyway. When the dirty little secret was revealed, the researchers decided to make lemon out of lemonade with the botched portion of their aspirin study by looking at the results of those study participants anyway. Perhaps there was something to be gained by zeroing in on the chocolate lovers. And there was.

After comparing the blood of those who continued eating chocolate with those who refrained from eating chocolate, Dr. Becker and Dr. Faraday found that blood took longer to clot among the chocolate eaters (130 seconds when taken out) versus the non-chocolate eaters (123 seconds).

"What these chocolate 'offenders' taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack," Dr. Becker noted.

The researchers concluded that eating dark chocolate could reduce the risk of blood clotting in the heart by as much as 50 percent compared with those who did not eat chocolate.

Doing whatever you can to stop the clumping of blood platelets is vital to preventing a blood vessel blockage which can lead to a heart attack. Consuming as little as two tablespoons of dark chocolate or a chocolate drink daily (minus the sugar, of course) could be enough to protect your heart against these dangerous blood clots.

The results of this study were presented at the American Heart Association's annual conference in Chicago, Illinois on November 14, 2006.

We've already seen research on the benefits of eating dark chocolate on blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and blood vessel functions as well as mortality rates.

Yet the supposedly healthy versions of dark chocolate coming from the large manufacturers, like the highly-touted garbage Cocoavia, are too packed with sugar and other ingredients your body doesn't need as part of your healthy lifestyle. Don't fall for the gimmick that these kinds of chocolates are good for you because they clearly are not.

That is why I support companies like Low-Carb Specialties who make the uberdelicious ChocoPerfection bars that give you dark chocolate without the sugar and are packed with fiber. These are HIGHLY recommended by people like me for weight and health management. There's just no denying the evidence that dark chocolate is a healthy superfood that everyone should be eating on a daily basis. I'm more and more convinced of this as the days go by.

When you are livin' la vida low-carb, chocolate is the perfect indulgence to not only give you all of the aboveforementioned health benefits, but to also cause you to feel good on the inside because it releases endorphines in the body to give you a sense of comfort and relaxation. We could all use a little bit of that, couldn't we? Sure!

You can e-mail Dr. Diane Becker about her study on chocolate at dbecker@jhmi.edu.

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4 Comments:

Blogger R. Francis said...

Hey Jimmy,

What about syrups like Da Vinci or Walden Farms that have cocoa but no sugar? Useful, you think? Two tablespoons is admittedly a fair bit of chocolate syrup, but I wouldn't be stunned if I put that much into three mugs of coffee (one "real", two decaf) that I have per day.

Random

11/16/2006 4:33 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Great question, Random! While those products are definitely useful to the low-carber or diabetic, I don't think they'll give you the heart health benefits that a dark chocolate bar would. Try taking a dark chocolate ChocoPerfection bar and melt it in the microwave with a little heavy whipping cream to pour in your coffee. Mmm mmm, you won't be able to stop drinking that stuff, baby! It's AWESOME! THANKS for writing!

11/16/2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Curious....wonder why they told people specifically to not eat chocolate?

RE: chocoperfection....it's the best! This has become my new nightly snack....melt some butter in a pan and add 1 oz pecans....cook for 5 min or so, then add 1/3 bar of chocoperfection. When melted, coat the nuts, then turn out onto foil or something heat resistant. Let cool in fridge and enjoy!!! YUMMY

11/16/2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Uber-delicious? LOL! That's a new (and great) word! In that same train of thought, how would you call Ornish? Uberfatfreak? LOL!

11/17/2006 5:04 AM  

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