The article by Koli, Köhler, Tonteri, Peltonen, Tikkanen, & Fogelholm (2015) sought to determine whether dark chocolate was effective in reducing blood pressure. The researchers realized that there is a gap in research on whether dark chocolate helped in lowering blood pressure. The study, therefore, aimed at proving whether the proposition is correct or incorrect. The control trial allowed the study to use a control experiment and compare the outcome of the group with intervention and the other without interference. The sampling method was random and purposive. It included selecting participants with specific traits, such as having hypertension, to help in making accurate observations and conclusions. Fliers and newspaper advertisements got used to obtain participants randomly who met the inclusion criteria. There was a total of 22 participants who took part in the study.
Various instrument tools helped in measuring the variables to ensure reliability and credibility. One such tool is the Cardio-ankle Vascular index (CAV) assisted in measuring blood pressure. The nutrient and food intake got measured AivoDiet software, which ensured that the participants consumed the right food quantity and nutrients. Data analysis utilized a statistical approach such as IBM SPSS and produced quantitative findings. The article presented its findings using numerical figures such as mean in the various tables. The results revealed that blood pressure reduced in all the subjects throughout the research period. The systolic blood pressure got reduced by seven mmHg in all the participants.
On the other hand, the diastolic blood pressure got reduced by a mean of 3 mmHg in the participants throughout the study. The study thus concluded that the reduced intake of snacks and consumption of dark chocolate had no significant effect on cardiovascular risk factors. The experiment, however, indicated a decrease in body weight.
The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of regular dark chocolate consumption on blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. When the subjects are under reduced snack consumption. According to Koli, Köhler, Tonteri, Peltonen, Tikkanen, & Fogelholm, (2015), the study aimed at verifying the previous studies which stipulated that cocoa containing foods can lower blood pressure and improve endothelial function.
The inquiry used a quantitative approach in the quest to get answers. A randomized controlled cross over the trial was the study design used in the research. The model included 22 adults with hypertension in the study. The participants who took part in the study had a reduced intake of snacks during the research period. The participants instead took 49g of dark chocolate per day. The control subjects reduced their snack intake but did not receive any quantity of dark chocolate. Data got collected at the onset and the end of the research period to compare the outcomes of the two groups.
Sampling and Sample
The researchers used fliers and newspaper advertisements to look for the participants. There were different criteria used in the selection of the sample population because the selection was purposive to obtain a particular set of participants. Some of the requirements that the participants had to meet included having mild hypertension 140-159 mmHg (SBP) or 90-99 mmHg (DBP). The participants also had to have a BMI of more than 35kg/m2. In total, 22 participants took part in the study. The selection was also random because there was no particular order of choosing the sample. According to Koli, Köhler, Tonteri, Peltonen, Tikkanen, & Fogelholm (2015), there were two sets of participants, including the control trial sample and the research sample.
Instruments and Measurement
There were different measurement tools used to measure the various variables, such as blood pressure. The certified cardio-ankle vascular index (CAV) got used in taking measurements to do with blood pressure. The CAV index reflected the stiffness of the artery from the heart to other parts, such as the ankle. The body composition analysis device InBody720 helped in measuring the weight and body composition. Glucose got measured using the hexokinase method while the insulin got measured using the chemiluminescent immunoassay method. In measuring insulin sensitivity, the researchers used the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA). The measuring and calculating of food and nutrients got done using the AivoDiet software version 220.127.116.11.
Data analysis got done using statistical techniques such as the IBM SPSS application. Different tests got used in analyzing data correctly to come out with findings that reflect the actual state of the research. The analysts used the Shapiro-Wilk’s W-test helped in analyzing the normality of the variables examined. The t-test helped in checking the differences between the variables at the baseline. ANCOVA helped in measuring the difference in variables between chocolate and control periods variables. The study then presented the results in tables presentation, which was easy to understand.
- Major Findings
The study came up with various findings regarding the efficacy of dark chocolate in reducing blood pressure. The results revealed that there was no significant difference in the measured variables at the baseline level. Blood pressure decreased slightly during the period of study. 12 of the 22 patients showed positive outcomes as they became normotension. There was a 7-mmHg reduction in the mean of systolic blood pressure. There was a 3-mmHg diastolic pressure in patients from the baseline till the end. In the case where there was no dark chocolate consumed, participants showed a reduction in weight by 1kg. There was no change in weight among the participants who took dark chocolate. The mean difference in weight decrease among the control group, and the latter was 1 kg. There was a change in fat body fat and fat mass among both groups, but it was not significant. The difference, however, had no significant impact on cardiovascular risk factors during the eight weeks. The changes that took place did not directly connect to the dark chocolate intake but rather the reduced consumption of snacks. The adverse effects that came out of the study were the reduced weight loss, and there were no other side effects of the experiment.
The researchers used various methods to ensure the inquiry is credible. The instrument used in measuring the multiple variables, such as the blood pressure got approved by the authoritative bodies before getting used in the research. The principle of agreement got upheld by the researchers as they followed the proper methodology that was objective in their study. The research design was appropriate in comparing outcomes to determine the most effective intervention using a controlled trial. The reflexive journal used in recording observations every day also helped in ensuring that the findings were credible.
Koli, R., Köhler, K., Tonteri, E., Peltonen, J., Tikkanen, H., & Fogelholm, M. (2015). Dark chocolate and reduced snack consumption in mildly hypertensive adults: an intervention study. Nutrition Journal, 14(1). doi: 10.1186/s12937-015-0075-3
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