Effects of regular high-cocoa chocolate intake on arterial stiffness and metabolic characteristics during exercise.
Nutrition. 2018 Oct 5 ;60:53-58. Epub 2018 Oct 5. PMID: 30529883
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the effects of regular high-cocoa chocolate consumption on arterial stiffness and fat oxidation during light- to moderate-intensity exercise.
METHODS: This randomized, controlled, parallel-group intervention study included 32 Japanese college students (mean age, 20.7± 0.3 y; men, n = 24; women, n = 8) who were assigned to either control or intervention groups (n = 16 each). The control group did not alter their habitual diet or physical activity throughout the study period. The intervention group consumed 20 g/d (508 mg of cacao polyphenol) of high-cocoa chocolate for 4 wk. Blood pressure, heart-ankle pulse wave velocity, cardio-ankle vascular index, body composition, and metabolic characteristics during exercise at 50% maximal oxygen uptake level were assessed before and after the intervention.
RESULTS: Four weeks of high-cocoa chocolate ingestion significantly reduced heart-ankle pulse wave velocity and cardio-ankle vascular index (%change, intervention versus control: -2.3± 0.9% versus 0.9 ± 0.9%, and -4.8 ± 1.8% versus 0.7 ± 1.3%, respectively; both P<0.05). However, blood pressure, weight, body mass index, body fat, waist circumference, and metabolic characteristics during exercise such as respiratory exchange ratio did not significantly change in either group.
CONCLUSIONS: Four weeks of regular high-cocoa chocolate consumption reduced arterial stiffness after considering blood pressure in healthy young men and women. However, the habitual consumption of high-cocoa chocolate for 4 wk did not affect metabolic characteristics during light- to moderate-intensity exercise and body composition.