Yale Study Reaffirms Link Between Dark Chocolate and Cardiovascular Benefits

HERSHEY, Pa., Oct 19, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Eating dark chocolate can result in short-term improvements in arterial function and blood pressure, according to a new study conducted at Yale University's Prevention Research Center and funded by The Hershey Company (HSY).

"This is the latest study to suggest a link between dark chocolate, which contains natural flavanol antioxidants, and health benefits," said Dr. David Katz, Associate Professor of Public Health at Yale, and Director of the Prevention Research Center, who conducted the study. "The dark chocolate tested in this trial improved blood pressure and arterial function. This clearly suggests that dark chocolate isn't just good; it's good for you!"

The Yale study used ultrasound technology and sophisticated measurements to assess the effects of eating high-cacao content dark chocolate, Hershey's(R) Extra Dark, on the arterial function of 45 moderately overweight adults. The study also measured subjects' blood pressure before and two hours after eating two servings (74 grams) of dark chocolate. The study demonstrated improvements in blood pressure, as well as the ability of blood vessels to dilate and increase flow, a key indicator of cardiovascular health, after eating dark chocolate. No such effects were seen with a low-flavanol placebo. This is the first phase of an ongoing trial. Future phases will explore the relationship between the consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa and the potential for longer-term health benefits.

"We are extremely encouraged about these results indicating the link between Hershey's Extra Dark and potential health benefits," said Thomas K. Hernquist, Senior Vice President and President, US Confectionery, The Hershey Company. "Hershey's Extra Dark is formulated with 60% cacao dark chocolate, giving the product a deep, rich chocolate flavor and a higher level of natural flavanol antioxidants. The dark chocolate category continues to grow at a rapid rate as consumers discover the unique, bold taste of dark chocolate and the fact that cocoa is a natural source of antioxidants."

"This study provides more evidence on the positive benefits of dark chocolate," said Dr. Debra Miller, Senior Nutrition Scientist, The Hershey Company. "Dark chocolate is a great choice for a treat, providing the delicious taste of chocolate that people love with the added benefit of natural flavanol antioxidants. Like all treats, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet."

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company (HSY) is a leading snack food company and the largest North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products. With revenues of over $4 billion and more than 13,000 employees worldwide, The Hershey Company markets such well-known brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Kit Kat, Almond Joy, Mounds, Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers, Ice Breakers, and Mauna Loa, as well as innovative new products such as Take 5 and Hershey's Cookies. In addition to its traditional confectionery products, Hershey offers a range of products specifically developed to address the nutritional interests of today's health-conscious consumer. These products include sugar-free Hershey's, Reese's and York candies, as well as Hershey's SmartZone bars for people seeking balanced nutrition. It also markets Hershey's cocoa, Hershey's syrup and other branded baking ingredients, toppings and beverages. In addition, Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company, markets premium chocolate offerings, including Scharffen Berger, known for its high-cacao dark chocolate products, and Joseph Schmidt, recognized for its fine, handcrafted chocolate gifts. Visit us at http://www.hersheynewsroom.com.

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