I pour over dozens of studies each day, cherry picking what looks interesting, practical, and worth the time to pass along to my patients.
It’s rare to find one that actually makes my mouth water.
When I saw “Researchers To Study Health Effects Of Chocolate In Volunteers“, it was like some double-take dream sequence. Were my glasses smudged? Was I developing some weird visual migraine? Was it April Fool’s Day or St Paddy’s?
No, I read it right. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are actually going to do a four-year study on the health effects of chocolate — and for participants, it’s freebie.
Freebies for 8,000 volunteers.
Where do I sign on the dotted line?
Not so fast melt-in-your-mouth fans.
First — the intent of the research.
We know that a group of chemicals called flavonoids in substances like chocolate have health benefits — including lowering the risk of maladies such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. The question is how much does it take, and how long does it take for these benefits?
So by this point, I’m imagining eating a candy bar as tall as I am each day for four years — all in the name of science and the benefit of mankind.
Then I read further. The flavanoids will be extremely concentrated — to the point where they will be stuffed into tasteless capsules which are then taken twice daily. Half of the people in the study will get tasteless capsules that contain placebo powder.
No real-deal heavenly chocolate for either group.
But wait! Maybe next time, or maybe even this time, if they change the rules. I should volunteer!
Well … you can sign up. But only if you’ve signed up for a previous study done at Brigham or an associated hospital group. In other words, they need to know you already. No fresh faces … or taste buds.
Wow, do I feel bad for the telephone operators who had a screen all of those phone calls today, only to say … sorry.
So I guess the way I’m looking at this whole thing is at least they’re studying it. And who likes tasteless capsules, anyway?
In the meantime, I will just keep up with my own research. A few dark chocolate M&Ms each day just might be good for my heart.
I don’t need an official study to know they are good for my soul. Mmmm.