Daily consumption of a dark chocolate containing flavanols and added sterol esters affects cardiovascular risk factors in a normotensive population with elevated cholesterol

Robin R. Allen, Lea Ann Carson, Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Ellen M. Evans, John W Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous studies with plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) provide support for their dietary use in maintaining cardiovascular health. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study evaluated the efficacy of daily consumption of a cocoa flavanol-containing dark chocolate bar with added PS on serum lipids, blood pressure, and other circulating cardiovascular health markers in a population with elevated serum cholesterol. We recruited 49 adults (32 women, 17 men) with serum total cholesterol concentrations of 5.20-7.28 mmol/L and blood pressure of ≤ 159/99mmHg. Following a 2-wk lead- in utilizing the AHA style diet, participants were randomized into 2 groups and instructed to consume 2 cocoa flavanol-containing dark chocolate bars per day with (1.1 g sterol esters per bar) or without PS. Each 419-kJ bar was nutrient-matched and contained ∼180 mg CF. Participants consumed 1 bar 2 times per day for 4 wk then switched to the other bar for an additional 4 wk. Serum lipids and other cardiovascular markers were measured at baseline and after 4 and 8 wk. Blood pressure was measured every 2 wk. Regular consumption of the PS-containing chocolate bar resulted in reductions of 2.0 and 5.3% in serum total and LDL cholesterol (P < 0.05), respectively. Consumption of CF also reduced systolic blood pressure at 8 wk (-5.8 mm Hg; P < 0.05). Results indicate that regular consumption of chocolate bars containing PS and CF as part of a low-fat diet may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-731
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume138
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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