In dietary interventions trials, a key challenge is the need for a well characterized flavanol-containing test product along with a flavanol-free control product. The control product needs to be almost identical to the test product in terms of appearance, taste, caloric content, and the amounts of macro- and micro-nutrients it contains. The only significant difference between the test product and its control in this context should be that the test product contains flavanols and the control does not. Only by using a characterized and standardized flavanol-containing test product and a proper flavanol-free control is it possible to undertake high-rigor research to obtain meaningful and reliable data. This is because it enables the establishment of a causality chain between flavanol intake and observed effects, and it enhances objectivity by excluding potential investigator- and participant-related bias.
One critical advancement made in the cocoa flavanol research program was the creation of test products made with the Cocoapro®extract process along with a nutritionally-matched control, so as to enable double-blinded crossover studies. Flavanol test products made with the Cocoapro®extract process are able to be formulated with a range of cocoa flavanol concentrations based on the requirements of the clinical study parameters. The nutritionally-matched control offers controls at 0 mg/serving.