It would be extraordinary if chocolate could make you lose weight or at least prevent weight gain. This would delight so many “chocolate addicts” who can’t help feeling guilty when they eat a piece… or a whole bar. But while waiting for that day, research is progressing and some benefit against weight gain is really taking shape.. but, alas, only in mice for the moment.
The super antioxidants of cocoa
Indeed, a fraction of cocoa-specific antioxidants has been shown to be able to prevent excessive weight gain and reduce blood sugar levels in laboratory mice exposed to a high-fat diet. Cocoa antioxidants, more specifically flavanols, have already shown favorable effects in the cardiovascular field, in particular by promoting endothelium-dependent vasodilation. The range of benefits of these flavanols on health could well expand to other scourges of modern times, such as diabetes and obesity.
Less weight gain, accumulated fat and improved insulin resistance
In any case, this is a new avenue opened up by this study conducted by a team from the Department of Food Science and Technology in Blacksburg, Virginia. One of the particularities of this study is to have separated different fractions of flavanols, essentially procyanidins, to study them separately. Because if all are antioxidants, they do not have the same properties.
They thus separately evaluated the administration of monomers, oligomers and polymers to mice exposed to a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Animals fed the oligomer fraction gained less weight, accumulated less fat, and had better glucose tolerance and less insulin resistance than other animals exposed to the fatty diet.
Given the low doses used in this study and its duration, it cannot be ruled out that such effects may be observed in humans with a few daily servings of cocoa, ideally in a low-fat and low-sugar version. We are still far from a chocolate that would prevent weight gain… but one day will come.
Dorenkott M: Oligomeric cocoa procyanidins possess enhanced bioactivity compared to monomeric and polymeric cocoa procyanidins for preventing the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and impaired glucose tolerance during high-fat feeding. J. Agric. Food Chem. doi: 10.1021/jf500333y.