- A compound in cocoa – epicatechin monomers – enhances insulin’s secretion
- Epicatechin monomers reduce obesity and help cope with high blood glucose
- Humans may require large quantities of the compound in order to benefit
- Supplements may one day be available to aid blood glucose management
- Such supplements could also be used to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes’ onset
Chocolate could prevent diabetes, new research suggests.
A compound in cocoa, known as epicatechin monomers, enhances the secretion of insulin from specific cells, a study found.
The compound also reduces obesity and increases animals’ ability to cope with high blood glucose levels, the research adds.
Although the study was only conducted in animals, the researchers add humans may require large quantities of the compound in order to benefit.
Study author Professor Jeffery Tessem from Brigham Young University (BYU), said ‘You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don’t want it to have a lot of sugar in it. It’s the compound in cocoa you’re after.’
A compound in cocoa, known as epicatechin monomers, enhances the secretion of insulin
WATCHING TELEVISION FOR THREE HOURS A DAY MAY RAISE A CHILD’S RISK OF DIABETES
Watching television for three or more hours a day may increase a child’s risk of diabetes, research suggested last month.
Children who spend at least three hours in front of a screen are heavier and have greater insulin resistance, a study found. Both of these are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Such youngsters also produce impaired amounts of the hormone leptin, the research adds. Leptin is involved in regulating appetite.
These results remained even after the study’s participant’s activity levels were taken into account, the study found.
Study author Dr Claire Nightingale from St George’s, University of London, said: ‘Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls, from an early age.’
How the research was carried out
The researchers built on previous research by Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech scientists fed epicatechin monomers to animals on a high-fat diet.
They found the compound reduced obesity and improved the animals’ ability to cope with high blood glucose levels.
When the researchers from BYU assessed why this occurred, they discovered that epicatechin monomers enhance beta cells’ ability to secrete insulin.
‘You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa’
Professor Tessem said: ‘What happens is it’s protecting the cells, it’s increasing their ability to deal with oxidative stress.
‘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.
‘You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don’t want it to have a lot of sugar in it. It’s the compound in cocoa you’re after.’
Co-author Professor Andrew Neilson added: ‘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.’
The findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry