Natural compounds in cocoa could delay onset of type 2 diabetes

3ab01a67-3e0f-431b-9d47-9f5cc6c613aearticleimage.jpg

30 Aug 2017 --- There is a possibility that eating some kinds of chocolate could help to fight and treat diabetes, as certain compounds found in cocoa called epicatechin monomers can actually help the body release more insulin and respond to increased blood glucose better. This is according to research at Brigham Young University (BYU) in the US that was funded, in part, thanks to grants from the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation and the American Diabetes Association.

However, this isn’t quite the good news for chocolate lovers that it might seem at first. “You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don't want it to have a lot of sugar in it,” says study author Jeffery Tessem, assistant professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science at BYU. “It's the compound in cocoa you're after.”

The body of a person with diabetes either doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't process blood sugar properly. The main cause of that is the failure of beta cells whose job it is to produce insulin. The new study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, has found that beta cells work better and remain stronger with an increased presence of epicatechin monomers, compounds found naturally in cocoa.

Dealing better with glucose
To discover this, collaborators at Virginia Tech first fed the cocoa compound to animals on a high-fat diet. They found that by adding it to the high-fat diet, the compound would decrease the level of obesity in the animals and would increase their ability to deal with increased blood glucose levels.

The BYU team, made up of graduate and undergraduate students in Tessem's lab and the labs of Ben Bikman and Jason Hansen (BYU professors of physiology and developmental biology), then looked at what was happening on the cellular level – specifically, the beta cell level. That's when they learned cocoa compounds named epicatechin monomers enhanced beta cells’ ability to secrete insulin.

“What happens is it's protecting the cells, it's increasing their ability to deal with oxidative stress,” Tessem explains. “The epicatechin monomers are making the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger, which produces more ATP (a cell's energy source), which then results in more insulin being released.”

The BYU press release notes that there has been a lot of research on similar compounds over the past decade, but no one has been able to point out which ones are the most beneficial or how exactly they bring about any benefit – until now. This research shows the epicatechin monomers, the smallest of the compounds, are the most effective.

“These results will help us get closer to using these compounds more effectively in foods or supplements to maintain normal blood glucose control and potentially even delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes,” says study co-author Andrew Neilson, Assistant Professor of Food Science at Virginia Tech in the US.

Rather than stocking up on the sugar-rich chocolate bars at the checkout line, the BYU press release points out that researchers believe the starting point is to look for ways to take the compound out of cocoa, make more of it and then use it as a potential treatment for current diabetes patients.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Labeling debate: Health labels may deter people from buying sugary drinks

25 May 2018 --- Young adults are less likely to buy sugar-sweetened beverages that include health labels, particularly those with graphic warnings about how added sugar can lead to tooth decay, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Vienna this week. 

Nutrition & Health News

Microbiome solutions: A key theme at Vitafoods Europe 2018

24 May 2018 --- Research into the microbiome – the aggregated microbial species in our body – is gaining increasing attention and investment. Although the term is often associated with digestive health, the body, in fact, contains multiple microbiome. This is currently spurring on research and innovation in areas as wide-ranging as women’s health, weight management, immunity and skin health. At Vitafoods Europe 2018, NutritionInsight spoke with suppliers about their efforts and innovations in the microbiome space, using pre or probiotics for gut health and beyond.

Nutrition & Health News

Diabetes UK: “Consumers want to see clearer calorie labeling on food and menus” 

23 May 2018 --- Consumers are more likely to purchase food if it is accompanied by clear calorie labels on its packaging or on the menu of the establishment, a survey conducted by Diabetes UK’s campaign, Food Upfront, has found. The survey sheds light on how the availability of clear labeling on food and drink could have considerable influence on the spending habits of the British public. Therefore, the campaign is calling for mandatory front-of-pack traffic light labeling on foods and menu calorie labeling in eating establishments.

Nutrition & Health News

Taiyo: Tapping into tea's health benefits

22 May 2018 --- Manufacturer of functional ingredients Taiyo presented its Sunphenon teas and Xia Oil as convenient, safe and suitable for a range of applications at Vitafoods last week. Taiyo also exhibited plans to further increase knowledge around tea as a health drink and their innovative beverage combinations with lasting Taiyo ingredients such as Sunfiber. The products in question can be used in an array of drinks applications, packing health punches that range from omega 3 boosts to fiber enrichment. They also target a number of factors including cardiovascular and glycemic health.

Nutrition & Health News

Weekly Digest: Valensa's Saw Palmetto gains sustainable logo

18 May 2018 --- The past week saw Valensa International gain sustainable recognition with the Fresh from Florida logo for their Saw Palmetto product, as well as USP’s (United States Pharmacopeia) Dietary Supplement Verification Program nabbing the top spot for reliability as determined by pharmacists in a survey conducted by the Pharmacy Times. Furthermore, in clinical news, omega 3 and omega 6 were found to aid the regulation of blood glucose levels in rats. The findings open up the potential for the use of supplements in type 2 diabetes regulation.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/natural-compounds-in-cocoa-could-delay-onset-of-type-2-diabetes.html