It should come as no big surprise to alternative health followers that many foods in their unprocessed form contain a host of protective compounds that have repeatedly been shown to promote human health. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids that protect vegetation from disease and pests, and many provide antioxidant support to help prevent a large variety of chronic illnesses when consumed by people. Dark chocolate has received extensive research coverage over the past several years to explain how natural compounds from cocoa protect against vascular conditions including cardiovascular disease and stroke.
A new body of research now provides evidence to show that eating dark chocolate in moderation can aid weight management to prevent obesity and thwart metabolic deterioration to help prevent diabetes. Two out of three Americans are either overweight or obese, and as many as one-third or more are pre-diabetic or have been diagnosed as diabetic. A research study team from the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, has released the results of their findings in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry that demonstrates how flavonols from cocoa found in dark chocolate are helpful in preventing weight gain and can also lower blood glucose levels.
Dark chocolate compound aids weight management and lowers blood sugar to slash diabetes risk
Prior studies have confirmed that that eating chocolate, as well as wine and berries, protects against type 2 diabetes, while other research has found that teens who consume higher amounts of chocolate tend to be slimmer. To conduct their study, the scientists set out to determine which of the previously identified cocoa flavonols were responsible for the positive health benefits exhibited by those eating dark chocolate. Using a mouse model known to simulate human metabolism, researchers assigned mice to one of six different diets for a period of 12 weeks.
The different diets consisted of high and low-fat diets, with the high-fat diets supplemented with either of three different types of flavanols (identified as monomeric, oligomeric or polymeric procyandins). Mice were given 25 mg of these flavanols each day for every kilogram of their body weight. The research team found that a high-fat diet supplemented with oligomeric procyandins was the most effective for maintaining the weight of the mice and improving glucose tolerance, a factor that could help prevent type 2 diabetes.
The research team concluded “Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest anti-obesity and anti-diabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa… Therefore, our data suggest that moderate doses of cocoa flavanols or cocoa powder have the potential to be more effective in human clinical trials than previously thought.” It is important to note that the scientists performing this study used 70 grams of dark chocolate (equivalent to 2 scored pieces of chocolate) to achieve the reported results, and indicated that increasing this amount had no additional positive effect on weight management or diabetic risk.
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