Lucky Study Participants Will Chow Down On Pills Filled With Dark Chocolate’s Nutrients

These are not chocolate pills but they do look sooo good. (Northwest dad)

These are not chocolate pills but they do look sooo good. (Northwest dad)

You’re probably wondering: Where the heck am I when researchers decide to study the healthful effects of dark chocolate, and how come I can’t be the one gobbling on chocolate pills? Scientists launching a big study on the nutrients in dark chocolate want to see if those cocoa flavanols can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Of course, ingesting these choco-pills won’t be anywhere near the experience of slobbering on a candy bar, but it’d still be pretty awesome to let everyone around you know it’s time for your medicine… CHOCOLATE MEDICINE!

Anyway, the Associated Press says there are enough nutrients in each pill that you’d have to basically live on candy mountain, proclaim yourself the ruler of the chocolate kingdom and shove candy bars down your gullet all day to try to equal the capsules’ effects.

About 18,000 men and women will be enlisted to help with the chocolate study, which is the first large test of cocoa flavanols. Other studies int he past have shown the ingredients can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, artery health and other things.

“People eat chocolate because they enjoy it,” the chief of preventive medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said in pointing out the obvious, so researchers want to take out that sugar and fat (read: otherwise known as “the fun part of chocolate”) and see what health effects the other ingredients provide.

It is interesting to note that the study will be sponsored partly by Mars Inc., maker of M&Ms and Snicker bars, along with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Mars has a patented method for pulling out flavanols from cocoa in high concentration and putting them into capusles, which will be quite useful for the purposes of the study. These capsules will have a lot more of the active ingredient than other versions of cocoa extracts that some candy companies sell.

“You’re not going to get these protective flavanols in most of the candy on the market. Cocoa flavanols are often destroyed by the processing,” said one of the study’s leaders.

Those in the study will take either placebo pills or two pills of (unfortunately, tasteless) cocoa flavanols every day for four years. It’s unclear whether outside candy consumption will count as extra credit.

You can follow MBQ on Twitter and rest easy knowing she always has plenty of chocolate “vitamins” on hand: @marybethquirk

Big study will test chocolate extract pills for heart health; multivitamins, too [Associated Press]