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Patients Prefer Tablet Over Chocolate for BP Control

Chocolate may be better than placebo for lowering blood pressure, but patients prefer capsule

THURSDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Chocolate may be more effective than placebo at controlling blood pressure, but it seems patients would rather swallow a capsule than eat a chocolate bar, according to a letter published Aug. 10 in BMJ.

Karin Ried, Ph.D., of the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues compared dosages of flavanol in chocolate, ranging from 30 mg to 1 g, to investigate the effectiveness of dark chocolate as a treatment for high blood pressure and to determine appropriate dosage.

The researchers found dark chocolate reduced blood pressures of more than 140 mm Hg systolic or more than 80 mm Hg diastolic more effectively than placebo, but were unable to determine the optimal dosage and dosing interval for the chocolate. Furthermore, a follow-up study suggested that patients preferred a capsule to daily chocolate intake.

"The practicability of chocolate as a long-term treatment is debatable. We found that 50 g daily of 70 percent cocoa chocolate was significantly less acceptable to patients as a long-term treatment for high blood pressure than one capsule daily of placebo or tomato extract (73 versus 100 percent)," the authors write.

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