Eat chocolate bars to cut down cholesterol

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Washington, Apr 22 (UNI) Who says chocolate is fattening? A new study has revealed eating chocolate bars can cut down your cholesterol levels.

Having two cocoaVia dark chocolate bars a day not only lowered cholesterol, but also had an added advantage of lowering systolic blood pressure, said the study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

The collaborative study conducted by University of Illinois Mars Inc., the company that makes the bars, recruited 49 people with slightly elevated cholesterol and normal blood pressure who began the American Heart Association's ''Eating Plan for Healthy Americans'', two weeks prior to the study.

The participants were then divided into two groups. Both the groups were given CocoaVia bars, but one of the group was given bars with plant sterols. The participants ate one CocoaVia formulation twice daily for four weeks, then switched to the other bar for an additional four weeks.

Blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body weight, and other cardiovascular measures were tracked throughout the eight-week study.

The study observed a marked differential effect on blood cholesterol, with the sterol-containing products doing better than those without sterols.

Prof John Erdman, one of the authors, attributed the drop in cholesterol levels to the plant sterols that have been added to the bar and the drop in blood pressure to the flavanols found in dark chocolate.

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