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Eating This Could Stop Type 2 Diabetes

By on April 6, 2014
It’s proven: Dark chocolate could help you lose weight. And now a new study by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University says there’s a new reason to snack on a bar of dark chocolate–it could stop type 2 diabetes.

The research, now published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, says that cocoa flavonals–something you’ll find in a serving of dark chocolate–were shown to improve glucose tolerance in mice, leading researchers to believe it could potentially reduce a person’s diabetes risk.

While other researchers emphasize that this study doesn’t establish a cause and effect relationship, some are convinced it could be a new potential way to reduce diabetes.

“There is interest in the potential of cocoa flavanols, including monomers and procyanidins, to prevent obesity and type-2 diabetes,” write researchers. “Little is known regarding how different cocoa flavanols contribute to inhibition of obesity and type-2 diabetes. The objective of this study was to compare the impacts of long-term dietary exposure to cocoa flavanol monomers, oligomers, and polymers on the effects of high-fat feeding.”

The Study

For researchers, they had one goal: Find out which flavanols, if any, helped lower blood glucose, a factor that commonly precedes diabetes. To do so, they went into the lab, using a group of mice to see how these flavanols affected their blood glucose levels.

So here’s what they did: First, they split the mice into six groups and had them go on a specialized diet, ranging from high-fat diets to low-fat diets supplemented with a specific flavanol. One flavanol they focused on in particular was oligomeric procyanidins, a type of flavanol found in dark chocolate.

“Mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with either a cocoa flavanol extract or a flavanol fraction enriched with monomeric, oligomeric, or polymeric procyanidins for 12 weeks,” say researchers. “The oligomer-rich fraction proved to be most effective in preventing weight gain, fat mass, impaired glucose tolerance, and insulin resistance in this model.”

As a result, mice who ate a high-fat diet specifically supplemented with oligomeric procyanidins saw the biggest improvements in glucose control, as well as other antidiabetic effects. In some instances, it also displayed antiobesity effects as well–another symptom that can increase or decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

For researchers, this could only mean one thing: Oligomeric procyanidins, when paired with a high-fat diet, could potentially stop people from getting diabetes.

“Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study,” say researchers. “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.”

What You Should Do

Worried about diabetes? Well here’s one way to reduce your risk–add dark chocolate to your diet. While it isn’t a cure for the disease, eating it regularly may help reduce your chances of developing it.

Readers: What are some other ways you minimize your risk of type 2 diabetes?

Sources:
Study: Flavanols in Dark Chocolate May Stop Type 2 DiabetesPUBS.acs.org
Why Dark Chocolate May Reduce Risk of Obesity, DiabetesMedicalNewsToday.com

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