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-   -   Drinking cocoa to improve insulin sensitivity (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2838)

Fenthis Glusos 08-05-2008 04:35 PM

Drinking cocoa to improve insulin sensitivity
obviously I'm talking about unsweetened, unprocessed cocoa -- which can be found in powdered form from online merchants or in health food shops.

I was thinking about starting to drink natural hot cocoa for some of its heart-healthy benefits and for the fact that I want at least something hot to drink daily, as generally I dislike both coffee and tea - so cocoa it is. The KUNA indigenous people of Panama drink about 40 cups of cocoa a week -- from which they attribute their good cardiovascular heath. But we've all heard of the health effects of dark chocolate, however in regards to insulin sensitivity, probably not.


Dark Chocolate May Improve Insulin Sensitivity/Resistance and Blood Pressure

Laurie Barclay, MD
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March 11, 2005 — Dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity and resistance and decreases blood pressure, whereas white chocolate does not, according to the results of a randomized study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Numerous studies indicate that flavanols may exert significant vascular protection because of their antioxidant properties and increased nitric oxide bioavailability," write Davide Grassi, from the University of L'Aquila in Italy, and colleagues. "In turn, nitric oxide bioavailability deeply influences insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and vascular tone. Thus, flavanols may also exert positive metabolic and pressor effects."

After a seven-day cocoa-free run-in phase, 15 healthy participants were randomized to receive either dark chocolate bars or white chocolate bars for 15 days, followed by another seven-day cocoa-free washout phase and then crossover to the other chocolate. The dark chocolate bars weighed 100 g and contained approximately 500 mg polyphenols; the white chocolate bars weighed 90 g and presumably contained no polyphenols. At the end of each period, oral glucose tolerance tests were performed to calculate the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI).

Mean HOMA-IR was 0.94 ▒ 0.42 after dark chocolate ingestion and 1.72 ▒ 0.62 after white chocolate ingestion (P < .001). Mean QUICKI was 0.398 ▒ 0.039 vs 0.356 ▒ 0.023, respectively (P = .001). Systolic blood pressure was lower after dark than after white chocolate ingestion (107.5 ▒ 8.6 vs 113.9 ▒ 8.4 mm Hg; P < .05).

Study limitations include inability to determine if positive changes in insulin sensitivity induced by dark chocolate were due to increased NO availability, and inability to completely exclude the contribution of other substances present in dark but not in white chocolate bars to the positive effects noted.

"Dark, but not white, chocolate decreases blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity in healthy persons," the authors write. "These findings indicate that dark chocolate may exert a protective action on the vascular endothelium also by improving insulin sensitivity. Obviously, large scale trials are needed to confirm these protective actions of dark chocolate or other flavanol-containing foods in populations affected by insulin-resistant conditions such as essential hypertension and obesity."

The Italian Ministero della UniversitÓ e della Ricerca Scientifica supported this study. The authors report no conflict of interest.

In an accompanying editorial, Cesar G. Fraga, from the University of California, Davis, and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, cites the large body of epidemiologic evidence suggesting that diets rich in fruit and vegetables may attenuate or delay the onset of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

"The interpretation that flavanols and procyanidins contained in the dark chocolate used in this study may be associated with the observed health effects is tempting but remains speculative," Dr. Fraga writes. "The identification of healthy foods and the understanding of how food components influence normal physiology will help to improve the health of the population.... Further studies in larger groups and in diabetic and hypertensive individuals are needed to confirm the healthy effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavanols."

Allen Yeh 08-06-2008 04:33 AM

I recall Robb liked cocoa for the load of antioxidants?

I'll add a few tbsp's to my shakes sometimes.

Darryl Shaw 08-06-2008 06:47 AM


Originally Posted by Allen Yeh (Post 36353)
I recall Robb liked cocoa for the load of antioxidants?

I'll add a few tbsp's to my shakes sometimes.

Cocoa has an incredibly high ORAC value.


Gittit Shwartz 08-06-2008 11:53 AM

A white chocolate bar contains more sugar than a dark chocolate bar... I find it incredible that this fact wasn't taken into account in the researchers' analysis of their results (at least in the text Fenthis posted).

Liam Dougherty Springer 08-06-2008 02:19 PM


Originally Posted by Gittit Shwartz (Post 36389)
A white chocolate bar contains more sugar than a dark chocolate bar... I find it incredible that this fact wasn't taken into account in the researchers' analysis of their results (at least in the text Fenthis posted).

I was thinking the same thing and wondered if there is any way that the difference in weight of the two types of bars reperesented that the only difference between the two was the addition of 10 grams of cocoa. Also this study looks suspiciously as though it is trying to promote eating candy bars rather than the health benefits of raw cocoa which is at best an acquired taste. For some cocoa will be considered inedible without sweetening. Still Dark choclate of 75% or above is one of my favorite cheat treats. I am in a small town on the oregon coast right now and this little coffe shop has a 91% cocoa candy bar with some super fancy type of cocoa in it. I am deffinatly getting one.

Fenthis Glusos 08-06-2008 03:07 PM

I agree, the posted article wasn't the best selection. There are better ones online using concentrated, natural cocoa sources.

Anyway, I bought some cocoa yesterday from here, which is available in 4 ounces or 1 pound: http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/p...r-organic.html (they also sell some mugwort if you're into psychical dreams) and will report back with how I feel about true, cocoa tea. haha

Liam Dougherty Springer 08-06-2008 03:29 PM

does "processed with alkali" effect its health atributes

Fenthis Glusos 08-07-2008 02:27 PM


Originally Posted by Liam Dougherty Springer (Post 36406)
does "processed with alkali" effect its health atributes

Yes it does, that and being Dutch-processed. Go for 100% organic, especially for the cardiovascular benefits.

In other news, I find that I've been leaner than usual as of late with my recent addition of milk back into my diet. I used to drink a lot of milk as a kid and was always lean, then heard about the apparent wrongings of dairy and eliminated it from my intake. Started it drinking it again and noticing my body fat shrinking. Strange.

My body seems to be able to handle dairy extremely well - that or all the extra calcium that I'm getting (I don't believe even the cruciferous veggies rank near as well as milk calcium)

Fenthis Glusos 08-13-2008 04:56 PM

I've got to say, this stuff is just real GOOD. Had a cup before -- one teaspoon mixed into a cup of boiled water, mixes excellently and tastes as good as it mixes. Yummy...no sugar needed!

Coffee and tea just do not match. Feels Awesome.

Darryl Shaw 08-18-2008 06:34 AM

I'm currently reading Anticancer: A New Way of Life by Dr David Servan-Schreiber and on p.140 there's mention of another potential health benefit of eating chocolate -


Blueberries contain anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins, molecules which are capable of forcing cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis). In the laboratory these molecules act on several cancer lines and are particularly effective against colon cancer. Other rich sources of proanthocyanidins are cranberries, cinnamon and dark chocolate.

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