Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Yes it is possible. A new study has shown that components in chocolate can prevent one from gaining weight and from increasing blood sugar levels in the body.
We like to eat chocolate every now and then but do we really know what chocolate is? Chocolate is a processed sweetened food from the Theobroma cacao tree. Cocoa products such as chocolates are rich sources of flavanol antioxidants. These products may also contain alkaloids such as theobromine, phenethylamine and caffeine. These substances may have certain physiological effects on the human body and may be linked to serotonin levels in the brain. It is said by some studies that chocolate when eaten in moderation can lower blood pressure and can support cardiovascular health. Other effects are reduced risks of cancer, heart disease and coughing. It can also improve vascular function, energy metabolism and reduced platelet clumping.
Chocolate may have various potential health effects. Eating chocolates can relieve headaches by enhancing the expression of MKP in the trigeminal ganglion, lowering the level of CGRP and other inflammatory chemicals possibly involved in mechanisms of migraines. Chocolate contains antioxidants such as phenols that may bring about arterial health and inhibit lipid peroxidation. There may be reduction of blood pressure after chocolate consumption. Cocoa polyphenols in chocolate can also bring about an increase in good cholesterol (HDL) cholesterol. In some studies it was found out that moderate chocolate consumption can reduce the risk of death in heart attack survivors. Strokes and blood vessel blockages may also be decreased with moderate chocolate consumption.
Chocolate may also serve as an aphrodisiac. The aphrodisiac effects are from the simple sensual pleasure of its consumption and its psychoactive effects brought about by its component methylxanthine, an active biological substance that competes with competes with adenosine, a presynaptic inhibitor modulator, and blocks its receptor. The blockage brings about arousal while decreasing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity.
Weight gain may also result from excessive consumption of dark chocolate. This may be beneficial in underweight individuals. Chocolate contains a lot of substances which have various health effects on the body such as anandamide, arginine, caffeine, present in smaller amounts, methylated xanthines (theobromine, caffeine & theophylline), oxalic acid, phenethylamine, phenylalanine, phytates, sugar, tannin, theobromine, theophylline, tryptophan and tyramine. Chocolate is said to the richest flavanol food source. Because of these, some scientists claim that chocolate can help fight off weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Chocolate, Obesity and Diabetes
A recent study has shown that one particular type of antioxidant in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and lowered their blood sugar levels. The results of this study were published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. The study fed groups of mice with different diets. Some mice were fed with high fat diets while some mice were fed with low fat diets. The researchers found out that adding a set of compounds to food known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs) can keep the weight of mice down and can improve their glucose tolerance which could be beneficial in type 2 diabetes. It is said that oligomeric PCS are said to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for this study.
Because of this, scientists recommend the moderate consumption of chocolates. For diabetics it is best to choose a low-fat type of chocolate such as dark chocolate so that its benefits can be enjoyed.
You can read more about chocolate and good nutrition on our other articles on this site.