In the study, the participants (all moderately trained cyclists) were split into two groups. One group was asked to eat a 40g bar of dark chocolate per day for two weeks, and the other group, 40g of white chocolate. After two weeks, the groups switched.
The study found that the cyclists' sprinting performance was increased by 17% after two weeks of consuming dark chocolate, but only a 4% increase was seen for those eating white chocolate, suggesting that the effect was due to more than the extra calories. Benefits were seen to the cyclists' gas exchange threshold, and also on the total distance covered during a two minute sprint, compared to both baseline and white chocolate conditions.
The researchers believe that epicatechin - found in cocoa beans and often taken as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders - is the reason for the observed performance enhancement. They also believe that the affect is not immediate - dark chocolate needs to be consistently consumed for several days before any improvement in performance can be observed.
And when it comes to dark chocolate, the purer the better. Higher% cacao, with lower% sugar and additives, clearly deliver greater health benefits. You can view our range of high cocoa percentage chocolate here.
Measure your oxygen saturations with our fingertip pulse oximeters here.
Patel, R., Brouner, J., Splendiff, O. (2015). Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12:47.