Women needed to test chocolate

Scientists are looking for women prepared to eat a bar of chocolate every day for a year.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia in Norwich need 150 volunteers, reports The Times.

The aim is to test the theory that chocolate can help women with type 2 diabetes ward off heart disease after menopause.

Experts say flavonoids, plant compounds found in cocoa and soy, have been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors.

So diet specialists recruited a Belgian chocolatier to create bars rich in flavonoids.

The volunteers must be past the menopause, must suffer from type 2 diabetes, and must already be taking statins to reduce their cholesterol levels. They will also need the approval of their GPs.

Peter Curtis, who is co-ordinating the study, said: “The chocolate has three times the amounts of flavonoids you would find in a normal high cocoa chocolate.

“This has been achieved by a special extraction process that retains the chemicals we think are the important ones.”

It tastes, he says, “quite nice” with a flavour of caramel. Soy has been added to provide an even greater dose of flavonoids.

Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, which is funding the trial, said: “We certainly don’t advise people to start eating a lot of chocolate as it’s very high in sugar and fat.”

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