Nitric oxide, dark chocolate, and faulty research

Found an email notice today about “dark chocolate’s good and good for you” in which they talk about the fact that dark chocolate may have antioxidant properties that increase the production of one of my favorite substances, nitric

3 Types Of Chocolate
Image by dnnya17 via Flickr

oxide. Naturally I had to check it out since I’m both a chocolate lover and curious about nitric oxide. They talk about possible effects of flavanols—a subclass of flavonoids—in dark chocolate on human visual and memory performance.

So, okay, I read the whole thing. It’s laid out nicely on the page. The site looks good, and it sounds like fascinating research—testing what effects dark-chocolate-eating had over white-chocolate-eating on the same group of volunteers.

But at the very end the report says that a lot more research has to be done because dark chocolate contains other ingredients not found in white chocolate—chief among which is caffeine. Huh?

Given the craze in our society for caffeine as a magical booster of human performance, it seems incredible to me that these researchers didn’t bother to control for such a powerful substance in these studies.  Made me feel like I’d just wasted my time reading the report.

Hope they keep up the good reporting work but pick better-planned experiments to report on. Check it out: Environmental Health News

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