Compound found in cocoa helps cells release more insulin

BYU Professor Tessem & grad student Tommy RowleyBrigham Young University via phys.org

What if consuming cocoa could help prevent and treat diabetes? It's crazy enough to laugh off, but ...

BYU researchers have discovered certain compounds found in cocoa can actually help your body release more insulin and respond to increased blood glucose better. Insulin is the hormone that manages glucose, the blood sugar that reaches unhealthy levels in diabetes.

Rather than stocking up on the sugar-rich chocolate bars at the checkout line, 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.

This research was funded, in part, thanks to grants from the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation and the American Diabetes Association.


The source article at phys.org.

Comments (3)
No. 1-3
Keith_Ayoob
Keith_Ayoob

You're both right. Wearing my "Dr. Keith" hat, this study only really might benefit type 2 diabetes, as it was testing how much insulin release cocoa compounds could stimulate by themselves. Why I like the study: it used real food source - non-alkalized cocoa powder commercially available (in the notes of the actual published study it was regular Hershey's cocoa powder!). They made a flavanol-rich extract from the powder for the study. Other studies have also found cocoa flavanols to help manage blood glucose levels and this study expanded on that. Antioxidant activity was also demonstrated Limitations? Some. It was an animal study, so caution is needed. Best dosages for humans still need to be researched,and let's face it, if it has to be taken in a pill form to be effective, it's a whole lot less fun. HOWEVER...if you're a type 2 diabetic, cocoa powder never was a bad thing for your diet. Hot chocolate is nice, sweeten it with something besides sugar (stevia works, but so do others) and you may even find that over time, you like it less sweet. Plus, the milk won't spike your glucose levels and most people need the calcium anyway, so it's a win-win. Given that about 1 in 11 people has type 2 diabetes, positive research of this kind at least gives hope that a diabetic diet doesn't have to be as punitive as some think.

DiscoverChoc
DiscoverChoc

Editor

@lbrindley - Very true about the distinction between types 1 and 2. But, overall, if you focus on adding unsweetened cocoa into your diet (e.g., mix natural cocoa powder into smoothies, oatmeal, etc.), you can benefit right away from many of the points raised in the article.

Your observation about dark chocolate makes sense - there is less sugar in most dark chocolates than in most milk and white chocolates (the higher the cocoa percentage the better, generally speaking).

lbrindley
lbrindley

Though this helps Type 2 Diabetics more than Type 1's, I have noticed (I am a Type 1) that dark chocolate does not result in the same intense blood sugar spikes as sweeter chocolate does.