More volunteers needed for chocolate study

A pioneering Norfolk study into the potential health benefits of dark chocolate is looking for 40 new post-menopausal female volunteers with type 2 diabetes.

Armed with super-strength chocolate specially formulated by Belgian chocolatiers, researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and diabetes specialists at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) have been testing whether the chocolate’s flavonoid compounds can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Their findings could help people at a higher risk of heart disease, such as post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes UK funded study is now entering its final stages and the research team will soon be collecting the results from the first group of volunteers who have been eating chocolate every day for one year. They are now appealing for eligible women to come forward to fill the final 40 places on the study.

The new volunteers must be under 76 and have type 2 diabetes. They must not have had a period for at least one year and must not be taking HRT. Volunteers must also be non-smokers and must have been taking cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins for at least a year.

“We are now approaching a really exciting phase of the study,” said study co-ordinator Dr Peter Curtis, of UEA’s School of Medicine.

“Our first volunteers are about to return for their final visit to see if the markers of heart health – such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels – have changed. A successful outcome could be the first step in developing new ways to improve the lives of people at increased risk of heart disease.”

As part of the study, participants will be required to eat a small amount of chocolate everyday (two 13.5g pieces) for one year and have their risk of heart disease tested on five occasions to see whether changes occurs. This will involve giving blood and urine samples, having an ultrasound scan of their arteries and filling in questionnaires about their lifestyle. These tests will take place in Norwich, at either UEA or NNUH, and travel expenses will be reimbursed up to a distance of 60 miles round-trip.

  • To find out more about the study you can watch a video on YouTube –
  • To find out more or to volunteer, please telephone 01603 597296 and ask for Suzanne or David (study nurses) or Dr Peter Curtis (study co-ordinator) or email

Friday 24th of July 2009 09:00:19 AM