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Scientists working with US chocolate giant Hershey claim they have discovered that extracts from Cocoa my block carbohydrate and lipid breakdown in the gut in a way that aids weight management.
The team from the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition and the Pennsylvania State University have reported that polyphenols from cocoa inhibited various digestive enzymes in a dose-dependent manner, meaning the more consumed, the greater the effect.
“The present study provides the first evidence that cocoa extracts and cocoa procyanidins are potent inhibitors of key enzymes in the digestion of carbohydrates and lipids in vitro, and these inhibitory activities are related to polyphenol content in cocoa extracts,” wrote the authors in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
With 50 per cent of Europeans and 62 per cent of Americans classed as overweight, the suppliment industry is becoming increasingly aware or the potential of food products for weight loss and management.
It has been suggested that if additional research can further support these findings, cocoa polyphenols may find a role in the burgeoning weight management market, already estimated to be worth $7bn (€5.2bn) worldwide.
The health benefits of polyphenols from cocoa have been widely reported in the national media, with studies indicating potential benefits for cardiovascular health, skin health, and even brain health.